Cambridge Backs Off

Sorry, did I offend you? Well I’ll write a grovelling apology regardless.

On the subject of that edition of Clareification that most of us would have considered firewood were it not for the chimp who went into hiding: Clareification: The Final Word – I Hope! : David T

You should be so lucky.

From that bastion of free speech, the Cambridge Evening News:

The college has promised to take action to prevent a similar incident occurring.

Part of the student’s apology read: “I understand that this edition has caused deep offence and hurt to very many people, both inside and outside Clare, through its derogatory references to individuals and also to various groups, including women, Jews, Christians and Muslims.”

A Clare College spokesman said:

“Because of the gravity of the situation and the diversity of views expressed about the best way of handling it, the Dean of Students set in train procedures for convening the Court of Discipline.

“As events unfolded, however, a collective decision was taken to pursue instead a course of restorative justice and reconciliation.

“The general and the guest editor were both formally reprimanded by the Dean of Students, and were also interviewed by the Master.

The guest editor was required to publish an apology, and also to meet any students who asked to see him as well as senior representatives of Cambridge religious communities.”

A note of apology was distributed to all college members.

The college is now arranging a meeting for next term to discuss the problem of maintaining free speech while avoiding offence. Guidelines for student publications are to be drawn up.

(Hat tip – AiC)

Guidelines for free speech? In the words of this somewhat rough but ready operator, thanks but no thanks.

And to think the chinless wonder who would be king was thinking of going there. Tut tut.

Those seeking cartoon related quotes to bamboozle their enemies would do worse than visit the internet’s finest.

The rest of us can ponder why

Clare College has not yet reinstated funding for the magazine.

Funnily enough, during the 90’s they never had a problem funding overly rammed funk or house nights in their cellar bar where sound systems fell over due to the immense quantities of sweat pouring off the ceiling into the electrics. And in terms of safety (and offence) that affected far more students than this rigmarole.

Ask yourself – would this be going on had a student written an inflammatory piece equating Roman Catholic priests to paedophiles? I think not. Ignorant: yes. Student cobblers: yes. Fighting talk intended to get people thinking about something other than Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic: maybe.

Does this edition of Clare’s college rag do anything to dispel the myth the majority of student journos are larey bastards knocking out pieces by email one or two hours before deadline? Of course not. So have a look at Bebo or Facebook, the closest the internet gets to the inbred world of college pap. If knocking the way fellow students dress is OK, if knocking the music they’re into is OK, if knocking the accidentally hedonistic lifestyle that involves waking up in bed with non-league footballers is OK, why should knocking the superstitious be out of bounds?

Those of you who like to make your feelings heard can write to Clare College at the usual address. Keep it polite: they probably don’t appreciate swear-words. They’ll have a committee for that kind of thing.

And call me old-fashioned, but I’ve got a feeling they won’t be feeling this strip anytime soon…

(Incidentally, has something been blacked out of that J&M cartoon, or is it just Firefox behaving like a spoilt brat and not playing ball for me? Didn’t Mo’ have a Dell in previous editions?)

David T adds

A Clare student has written to me to say that Clare College undergraduates are bemused by the student’s apology. The apology acknowledges the offence caused to “various groups, including women, Jews, Christians and Muslims”. The Master had also initially claimed that the college rag constituted a “possible incitement to prejudice” against gays:

No-one at Clare has the first clue what was supposed to have offended Jews in that edition of Clareification. You may recall that the Master had claimed that gays were also one of the offended parties. Again, we’re not quite sure how (or at what point they stopped being offended).

It looks as if the College wants Muslims to appear to be one of many groups who were caused offence, so as not to single out that one group.

(Though I doubt that they sent the student into hiding for fear of spontaneously exploding homosexuals.)

Quite so.