Monday, August 25, 2008


Oops. An evil twin in this headline, which we found on the Seattle P-I:

Butt-bearing professor fired by university

The Fort Hays State University professor who mooned a colleague during a student debate has been fired.

The Internet has been a-buzz with talk about the profanity-riddled YouTube video that shows William Shanahan, a debate coach at Fort Hays, arguing with University of Pittsburgh debate coach Shanara Reid-Brinkley. During the argument, Shanahan bent over and exposed his underwear.

This is from the AP:

University President Edward H. Hammond also announced Friday that the school was immediately suspending its debate program until problems are addressed at the national level. He said it was important to take a stand against the declining standards of college debate.

"Everyone has the right to freedom of speech, but these actions are not acceptable for someone who is representing our university," Hammond said in a written statement.
It should be butt-baring. We all bear butts, even if we can't bear them (or bare them, apparently) in debates.

For the record, SPOGG is on the side of the fired professor. He didn't show skin. The gesture, while crude, therefore couldn't be called obscene by a reasonable person. What's more, it communicated something. The First Amendment has protected expression that falls short of obscenity, especially in public institutions.

Protecting ideas, even if they're communicated in ways that offend some, ought to be more important to universities than protecting sensibilities.

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