Colorado College Travelogue, Part II: Media Tour
April 28, 2008
by Adam Kissel
There is a good reason why the media in Colorado Springs, in Denver, and around the country have been all over this case. What has happened to the Dudes is profoundly unjust.
The media continue to follow this amazingly shameful case. On Monday night before the lecture, I spoke with some of the top members of the Catalyst, the college's student paper, and about 15 other students ranging from "very liberal" to pretty conservative. The students were fired up, outraged, dedicated to continuing the fight for their rights—and quite articulate about what they believe those rights entail for them at CC.
On Tuesday, the Independence Institute had a full day of media appearances in store for me in Denver. This was thanks to the Institute and especially Jessica Corry, wife of Robert Corry. Robert Corry is known in part for his role in the successful speech code case of Corry v. Stanford.
In the morning I was on Amy Oliver's radio show on KFKA 1310 AM. We talked about how the Colorado College case is one of the worst examples of the political double standard at colleges today. Later in the day, Oliver recorded a podcast with me—check for it soon at http://www.ivoices.org/. In the meantime, check out FIRE's two podcasts on the case here (Episodes 108 and 110). Episode 108 is a general introduction to the case, and Episode 110 mainly dissects the inconsistencies in President Celeste's responses thus far.
In the late morning I was on The Mike Rosen Show on KOA 850 AM. We discussed CC and the importance of both the right to speak and the right to criticize speech without fearing official punishment.
At lunchtime, I sat for an interview with Jessica Corry and Face the State's Rachel Boxer. We discussed CC as well as a few general problems: the explosion in campus administrators who feel it is their job to police the campus culture; and the trend of using university authority to subordinate individual rights to "community values." These values are usually misnamed as "community" values because they tend to be unilaterally imposed on the campus community by administrators.
In the afternoon, Jessica Corry and I taped an episode of Jon Caldara's television show, Independent Thinking, on KBDI Channel 12. It aired Tuesday at 5pm and Thursday at 8:30pm, and I'm told that the streaming video will be posted fairly soon. Again, CC was the main topic.
All of this press coverage was in addition to the wave of bad publicity CC has faced since the beginning of this month. Here's how I concluded my lecture:
I seriously doubt that the Trustees of Colorado College are content with the way your school has been depicted in public over the past month. And I doubt the Trustees will be happy to get a packet from FIRE containing the large and growing pile of negative press. Instead, I want the Trustees to see a press release that honors Colorado College for upholding its great tradition of free expression.
It is up to President Celeste and everyone else on campus to restore the good name of Colorado College and show the world that at Colorado College, free expression is not a myth or a broken promise.
It's not too late for President Celeste to do the right thing and declare the Colorado College Dudes innocent of violence for posting their flyer. If he does this, he could see this whole self-created free speech fiasco fade away. If not, he shouldn't be surprised that CC's mishandling of this case stays in the news for a long time coming. We hope Celeste will do the right thing and put this issue to rest.