February 24, 2004

Statement by President Judith Shapiro of Barnard College on the
comic strip published in the Fed:

A free student press is central to a healthy academic community. The
consequences are that students will sometimes publish things that are not 
merely unpopular, but also offensive - and in this case, stupid, racist, and disgusting. The response must be to make the student journalists aware of what others think of their actions.

The Fed's journalists are going to catch a lot of flak, which they deserve. They are going to learn about being accountable for what they have done. One flyer with an apology is not likely to cut it. They will probably become an object of contempt and ridicule on the part of the majority of their fellow students for some time to come. They have printed something that one might expect from an all-white fraternity in the south in the 1950's; to have it appear on Morningside Heights in 2004 was truly appalling.

A word to the editor-in-chief of The Fed, who is a Barnard student:
It is totally inappropriate to publish material with the disclaimer that it is not policy to "censor" what goes into one's publication. This is a misuse of the concept of "censorship" as anyone with an understanding of journalistic responsibility should realize. Would any respectable newspaper or magazine publish racist material with the comment that it does not "censor" what goes into its pages? Would any responsible editor fail to understand the message conveyed so famously by former
President Harry S. Truman when he said: "The buck stops here"? 

February 24, 2004


RELATED: Barnard Dean sends message...

To: All Barnard Students
From: Dorothy Denburg, Dean of the College

I want to share with you a statement by President Shapiro on a comic
strip that was published by the student publication, the Fed,
recently. The statement has been sent to campus publications, including
Spectator and Bulletin. Many in our community are understandably hurt and
outraged by this offensive strip. They are encouraged to make their
feelings known through letters to the editor of our campus newspapers and in appropriate forums, meetings, and other organized discussions that
various student groups or administrators may plan. However, I want to remind the student community that it is not appropriate, or particularly
productive, for student response to take the form of written or verbal
statements directed at individuals in their residence halls. Any posters or written statements of this nature posted in residence halls will be

Dorothy Denburg
Dean of the College

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