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UO Statement On Insurgent

The WorldNetDaily story Ian pointed to has been updated with a quote from an unnamed Frohn-spokesman:

I share your concern about the offensive nature of the content contained within the [Insurgent].

I understand why it may seem as if the University should have prevented publication or should take some action against those responsible for the publication. The Student Insurgent is not owned, controlled or published by the University of Oregon and is funded with student fees. Therefore, the University cannot exercise editorial control over its content.

The best response to offensive speech often is more speech. … I am strongly opposed to speech that makes individuals feel that they or their beliefs are unwelcome or belittled, and I can assure you I will use all permissible means to respond to publications such as the recent Insurgent.

Well, at least nobody had to issue thinly veiled threats of legal action to get a quote out of them this time. That’s progress, right?

UPDATE by Ian: The Register-Guard also has a story concerning the images in today’s paper.

  1. Timothy says:

    Olly: Oh, no, there are more. Verbose guy. Dickensian even, but with less depressing crap about Victorian life.

  2. Olly says:

    Tim, at this point I think you’ve left us with all the words of John Stuart Mill.

  3. Olly says:


    I don

  4. The Master says:

    Jethro: I can sympathize with your statements. I certainly don’t want to fund OSPIRG with my incidental fee money, but the United States Supreme Court (in a FULL UNANIMOUS decision [That includes Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy]) upheld Southworth v. Board Of Regents (2000), which states that incidental fee money cannot be held up by an administration OR de-funded for any reason that is not viewpoint neutral.

    I would recommend, most highly, that you take Jason Tanenbaum’s “Art and the State” Course (PS 301). He’s fair, balanced, and provides a good outlook on Art, it’s connection to the State, and Media.

  5. Timothy says:

    Jethro: Rosenberger v. Rector, Southworth v. Board of Regents.

    Look them up. That’s the relevant case law on the issue of student fee funded speech, I suggest you familiarize yourself with it before you go on national television to bask in the adoration of some soft-headed statist again. I’d also suggest learning how to tie a proper knot, a full windsor perhaps.

    Repeat after me: Student fee (or publicly) funded publications cannot be defunded for their content, and distribution of funds must be done in a viewpoint-neutral manner (that is with neutrality to the viewpoint of the publication in question). While we can go around all day about the prudence of funding such publications at all (I am not in favor of fee-funded or publicly funded speech), so long as it exists those are the rules. And that’s as it should be, the same power you wish Frohnmeyer or the ASUO had to capriciously punish speech you find offensive could be used against you at the whim of some other over-sensitive campus jerk. Perhaps one who couldn’t decide if he was a male or a female, for instance. Maybe, say, over a dick joke.

    Again, I’ll leave you with the wise words of John Stuart Mill:

    Strange it is, that men should admit the validity of the arguments for free discussion, but object to their being “pushed to an extreme;” not seeing that unless the reasons are good for an extreme case, they are not good for any case. Strange that they should imagine that they are not assuming infallibility when they acknowledge that there should be free discussion on all subjects which can possibly be doubtful, but think that some particular principle or doctrine should be forbidden to be questioned because it is so certain, that is, because they are certain that it is certain. To call any proposition certain, while there is any one who would deny its certainty if permitted, but who is not permitted, is to assume that we ourselves, and those who agree with us, are the judges of certainty, and judges without hearing the other side.


    Let the opinions impugned be the belief in a God and in a future state, or any of the commonly received doctrines of morality. To fight the battle on such ground, gives a great advantage to an unfair antagonist; since he will be sure to say (and many who have no desire to be unfair will say it internally), Are these the doctrines which you do not deem sufficiently certain to be taken under the protection of law? Is the belief in a God one of the opinions, to feel sure of which, you hold to be assuming infallibility? But I must be permitted to observe, that it is not the feeling sure of a doctrine (be it what it may) which I call an assumption of infallibility. It is the undertaking to decide that question for others, without allowing them to hear what can be said on the contrary side. And I denounce and reprobate this pretension not the less, if put forth on the side of my most solemn convictions. However positive any one’s persuasion may be, not only of the falsity, but of the pernicious consequences–not only of the pernicious consequences, but (to adopt expressions which I altogether condemn) the immorality and impiety of an opinion; yet if, in pursuance of that private judgment, though backed by the public judgment of his country or his contemporaries, he prevents the opinion from being heard in its defence, he assumes infallibility. And so far from the assumption being less objectionable or less dangerous because the opinion is called immoral or impious, this is the case of all others in which it is most fatal. These are exactly the occasions on which the men of one generation commit those dreadful mistakes which excite the astonishment and horror of posterity. It is among such that we find the instances memorable in history, when the arm of the law has been employed to root out the best men and the noblest doctrines; with deplorable success as to the men, though some of the doctrines have survived to be (as if in mockery) invoked, in defence of similar conduct towards those who dissent from them, or from their received interpretation.

  6. Jethro Higgins says:

    I don’t understand where the word censor ever caim into this debate as a member of students of faith I can honestly say that the coalition is not looking to censor anyone. This is entirely a funding issue. I think it is wrong for the university to force me to pay the bills for a left wing anarchist/ marcist publication to belittle what I believe, and defame my religion and my God, and I find it an akward stance of the Comentator to stand in the way of this funding issue. A privatley funded group has the right to say anything they like, and if the Insurgent had done a more tasteful job in there issue they would not have been so offensive. In showing the islamic cartoons the Comentator also exercised respect for the Islamic faith. The Insurgent’s issue was designed to attack Christians more specifically Catholics, and sway public opinion against us. That is not something I am willing to stand by and pay the bills for.

  7. Zachary White says:

    Adam, you’re missing the point. My grievance called for a public apology from the Insurgent as they were using public funds to ridicule a religion. I never asked for them to be censored or have their funding cut, nor would I even have wanted that outcome. My “actions” was filing a complaint and asking for them to apoligize, I never wanted to censor them.

    I think that censoring them is a mistake. The Insurgent obviously is a ridiculous publication – a joke – and is written by a bunch of wannabee anarchists. I can’t quite figure the Insurgent out, is it an elaborate joke? Whatever the point is, censoring them would do no real good, all it would do is raise sympathy for their twisted ideology. I just want this to be discussed in a civilized matter, as it happening here.

  8. C.G. says:

    No, I’m not a Catholic, but how would that have been relevant, anyway? Even if I was, I don’t think it would have effected my point of view on this subject. Outside the little echo chamber people like the Insurgent staff and ELF members live in, people (at least most Americans) don’t line up and march lock-step to any specific creed, be it theological or ideological or illogical. You don’t think the Catholics have a big tent? You don’t know many Catholics, then.

    But thanks anyway for trying to shoe-horn me into your little stereotype spectrum.

  9. Antonio L says:

    Hmmmmmmmmm… After re-reading C.G.’s post, it appears that he is not, in all actuality, a Catholic… Six Dollar Bottle o’ Wine: 1, Antonio L

  10. Antonio L says:

    “That said, while the Catholic League only wants to shut up a bunch of wannabe anarchosyndicalists, do you really think a tear would be shed over at the Insurgent if every Catholic on the planet spontaneously combusted? I

  11. C.G. says:

    The Catholic League had every right to “get involved,” just like the Insurgent has every right to spew inanity and offer their readers only one interpretation of Catholic history. The problem is the grievance process itself, which is pathetic if you ask me.

    On the other hand, if the Catholic League feels threatened by the likes of the Insurgent staff, they’ve got bigger problems than … oh, actually they do have bigger problems, so never mind. In any case, the Catholic Church can clamour all they want for censorship. It matters not. They won’t get it, and God bless the Constitution for that.

    That said, while the Catholic League only wants to shut up a bunch of wannabe anarchosyndicalists, do you really think a tear would be shed over at the Insurgent if every Catholic on the planet spontaneously combusted? I’d say that on balance, I’d have an easier time looking myself in the mirror every morning as a Catholic than as a writer for the Insurgent.

    The whole sorry, tragic thing about this mess is that the Insurgent, their staff and their (ahem) readers got to feel like the victims they have been trying to convince the world they are since Karl Marx first sat down at his desk.

    The upside is that free speech won the day and that should make it a little easier to heft those El Dorado mugs for all of you.

  12. Andy says:

    [quote]I am not a religious fanatic and don

  13. Zachary White says:

    I apologize, I looked up the email and it was actually Adam Turcott who instructed me to file the grievance. I am not blaming anybody, but I am looking at the email right now and it clearly states that ” The next step is for you to fill out
    a grievance. They are located in the ASUO office. This
    would advance the complaint to the programs
    administrator David Goward or the Constitution court.”

    It was ultimately my action and not Mr. Turcott’s, but the fact is that I was instructed by the student government to file the grievance, I did not entirely know what I was getting myself involved in.

  14. Timothy says:

    What’s getting my goat are all the religious whiners saying “geeze, as if we Christians aren’t persecuted in this country enough every day!” It’s driving me insane.

    If cartoons are the worse “persecution” you face, I’d say it’s a damn fine day. I mean, really. Try being the Falun Gong, or a Christian in Pakistan or Iran. Come back when somebody’s feeding you to lions again, or when you’ve been cruxified upside down. Cable TV you don’t like, and stupid cartoons do not a persecution make.

  15. Tyler says:

    So the plot thickens …

    Okay, not really. First of all, this whole Insurgent issue has blown up, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Although I disagreed with elements of the grievance, I do not think that Zachary should feel bad about filing it. If the Insurgent has the right to speak its mind, then so should Zachary. I think a well-worded guest column would have been better, but whatever … This still would have become a mini-issue in religious circles around the country.

  16. Jared says:

    I just wanted to add that I, in fact, did not instruct Zachary to file any grievances. Zachary and I discussed the issue briefly via email, but I did not tell him to take any action. However, I do agree that if Zachary, or any student feels that rules have been broken, on any matter, then a grievance should be filed. We all know how much fun grievances are to talk about, especially with Goward as the person who handles them.

  17. Zachary White says:

    I just want to say that, I really didn’t know that some of the more militant religious on campus wouls summon national groups to intimidate the University and belittle our fine President. When I filed the grievance, all I really wanted to do was to stimulate a debate, I had no idea it would spiral into a national issue. I was instructed to file the grievance by Jared Axelrod because he said that was the main way to have this issue discussed. I am not a religious fanatic and don’t believe that the Insurgent should be censored. I am upset at the reactionary response some have taken to the Insurgent. I believe that the issue was offensive and poorly reasoned, but I just wanted to discuss it with them rather than get national groups involved. I had no part in calling the Catholic League or any other organization, that was action taken by others.

    Anyway, I just hope this all blows over. I made my point, and made an argument, and it was denied by the Student Government. I don’t really care about the Insurgent anymore. All I want to do is discuss this with them, and I probably will just go ahead and do that.

    In the immortal and infamous words of Pilate, I “wash my hands of this,” if any of you hear of national groups getting involved, it is not my doing.

  18. Antonio L says:

    “If you utilize critical thinking skills it is easily seen that…” –memily

    Fuck it, man. I’d sooner drink the KoolAid…

  19. Anthony says:

    U of O sucks. Too many dirty liberals and hippies everywhere. I long for the day when my kids will ask me what a hippie was.

  20. Tyler says:

    I wrote a guest commentary for the ODE about this controversy, but they haven’t run it yet. If they don’t, I may send it to the Reg. Guard. For me, it’s surprising that this is still an issue, but apparently the cartoons hit a real nerve; I can’t say that I’m too socked about this.

    Word ’round the campfire is that this might get some more national attention. As Matt Drudge would say, developing …

  21. emily says:

    As a transfer student, and one in the humanities at that, I must echo what Olly has to say in that you get out of your education what you put in. And I have to put in a good word for those in the Art History and Religious Studies departments here (there are some detractions, but where and with whom will you find none?). My professors have Ivy league PH. D.’s and are passionate about what they teach. How much you pay attention is your own business.

    Also, Kiri, cry me a river. If you utilize critical thinking skills it is easily seen that a university campus of all places is not going to be a place of monolithic opinion. The Insurgent did something tasteless and actaully fairly dull in my opinion, and you lend it more credence by getting your panties in a bind.

  22. Andy says:

    Oh sure, I have good fun everyday at school, and considering I pay in-state tuition, it’s a hell of a deal. The math department is phenomenal here – and my stats teacher has his undergrad from Chicago and his PhD from Berkley! BUT – that doesn’t entirely compensate for the under performing departments. Of course the rankings don’t matter to me, because I’m here taking advantage of the best stuff from UofO…but for others looking at the whole…I’m afraid we can’t compare with a lot of other places.

  23. Timothy says:

    Let me reiterate: *sigh*

  24. Kiri says:

    It seems if the paper is associated with the university, the president can do more about its content. Otherwise, disassociate it from the university completely. What a wimp!!

  25. Scott McLoud says:

    BTW, I’d like to say that the folks at the commentator are really doing a good job of keeping up the publication, as this blog attests to.

  26. Scott McLoud says:


    When I was there UofO was not a “shitty” University, or at least in the Departments I haunted (Chemistry, Physics, Math, biology etc). I did notice some mediocrity when I traveled outside the sciences and into the humanities, but humanity departments generally are not up to the standards of the sciences.

  27. Olly says:

    Scott: I know what you mean about the publicity, but I don’t think it’s as much of a UO-specific problem as all that – I only ever read about other colleges in the news when something bizarre happens there, too. As for damaging the UO’s recuitment efforts, it’s hard to say… but personally, I like having a lively mix on campus, and the Insurgent is a valuable part of that mix, if only because (to quote P.J. O’Rourke yet again) every moral compass needle must have a butt end.

    And Andy: put not your faith in college rankings. The old place isn’t so bad – like every other college in the world, you get out what you put in. (Besides, I thought you Americans were supposed to be all full of school spirit and stuff. Where did all this negativity come from?)

  28. Andy says:

    UofO, as a whole, is a shitty university Scott. We’re ranked 115th, far below University of Alabama and University of Auburn (I should have transfered last year…). It is also cheaper to go to those schools, seemingly defying the laws of economics. The problem with UofO, compared to other schools I venture to guess, is just that we suck. There are too many factors of mediocrity to single out a definite culprit, but luckily there are above average places on campus and below.

    The insurgent has one goal, at which it preforms beyond expectaions, and that is to be the best hypocrites they can. They do not give a shit about anything else. Hypocrisy is their rallying cry.

  29. Scott McLoud says:

    As an alum of the University (’98, Chemistry B.S.) it pains me to see that the only time the UofO gets national attention is when someone is pulling an outrageous stunt. UofO is a good University with many fine programs, but you would not know this if you were a parent in middle America looking for a University for your kid. Do these people at the Insurgent know how much damage they are doing to the University, themselves, and grads like me? Or are they just in a selfish ideological stupor?

  30. Ian says:

    Ken- We have posted a .pdf of the issue on our blog here. The Insurgent does not maintain its website, so we decided to do their job for them.

    Like us, the Insurgent is a fee-funded publication whose content is completely independent from the UO administration’s editorial control.

  31. Ken Layne says:

    Where is this so-called “Insurgent” paper? The World Net Daily story had some old link to a six-year-old web site. Is this all a scam???? Where is this so-called Jesus porn? Please post the information on your website at once, thank you.

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