Around 30 partygoers went to the hospital after a floor collapsed at a Clemson University fraternity party with cuts, broken bones, and fractures, but no life-threatening injuries, reported The Daily Caller News Foundation. This isn’t the first issue Clemson has had with Greek life on campus, though. The school temporarily suspended all of its frats and sororities in fall 2014 after sophomore pledge Tucker Hipps died by falling from a bridge after a fight involving him not buying breakfast for the brothers and other pledges.
Tucker’s parents sued Clemson for $50 million and eventually settled for $250,000. Then the next year, 2015, Clemson banned its fraternities and sororities from buying booze and holding drinking games. This wasn’t a total prohibition, the groups just had to follow a bring-your-own-beer rule. The Greek groups were also slapped with a limit on non-member guests at parties, had to pay for extra security at parties, and take courses on drugs, sexual misconduct, and hazing.
Now, I’ve covered frats and frat bans a couple of times here on Campus Unmasked and I think you can break the issue down into two points: security and freedom of association. Having a ban looming over their heads gives frat members a great incentive not to commit sexual assault and force their members to drink until they die from alcohol poisoning. I don’t so much care about the hazing, so long as it’s only humiliating and not illegal. So banning frats can work, but you have to make sure you’re punishing bad individuals, not the collective.
Then, of course, there’s the freedom of association side of the coin: Harvard University has created punishments for students who join frats and sororities, such as not being able to apply for campus leadership positions or get endorsements for prestigious scholarships. But these sanctions were not because of bad behavior, so much as the fact that the groups were single-gender while giving their members a leg up in the professional world. You would think that the most prestigious university in the U.S. — perhaps the planet — would know that you don’t punish freedom of association just because members of groups help one another and guys and girls sometimes like hanging out with their own gender. You would think.
Students Triggered By ‘Caravan’ Sandwich
Here’s how Loose Change, a restaurant by Clemson University, advertised its Tijuana Chicken Sandwich:
“Big enough to feed a caravan. Built high enough with smoked chicken, lettuce, tomato, pepperjack, bacon + guac. Bordered with a side of pub chips. So good, it should be illegal,” according to Campus Reform. As you can probably imagine, Clemson students were…not happy.
“The sign was offensive and very distasteful. CUSG stands for the voices of all students, and it is concerning that Loose Change would block the social media accounts of several student organizations after they expressed their concerns with the incident,” Clemson’s undergraduate student government said. “This situation greatly disappoints us, as we will not stand for any voice to be censored.”
OK, so apparently the restaurant blocked accounts of student groups whining about the sign. I for one have never blocked a soul on Twitter but guys, blocking doesn’t equal censoring. It’s like wearing headphones in a room with squealing babies instead of giving them pacifiers. In case it isn’t obvious, the students are the babies in this analogy.
And it wasn’t just the student government. Clemson frat Lambda Theta Phi took to Instagram, saying “as members of the Clemson community, and former patrons of your establishment, we are writing to express our disapproval of your tasteless appropriation of humanitarian crises for the sake of generating profits.”
Tasteless appropriation? Surely it had some kind of taste. Seriously though, do you see what appropriation outrage does? Those who stoke it make the assumption that you’re not just politically opposed to them but that you are also somehow morally deficient. Cultural appropriation also sets limits on humor — a primary means by which we, as humans, convey information — by insisting that in order to comment on something, you have to BE that something.
Now, Loose Change has apologized profusely for the post, but you can never just say sorry and move on with these people. Once they smell blood, they’re never appeased until they have complete and utter submission.