Students at the Colorado School of Mines selected “the Mine Shaft” as the nickname for its new athletic center — only for the administration to veto it over concern that it’s “rape culture.”
According to e-mail correspondence obtained by Heat Street, the administration decided to override the students’ overwhelming vote for the nickname because a student wrote an e-mail last August complaining that the name was “rape culture” and “phallic.”
“The idea behind the name, at least from the students [sic] perspective, was that the students could tell the opposing team they had been ‘shafted,’” the student, whose name had been redacted, wrote, continuing:
“The most common definition of the word means to get jipped out of a deal, which doesn’t make since [sic] for us to be telling another team. But the other and most disturbing definition is to be raped. Bottom line, I think the name supports rape culture. If Mines is truly trying to diversify the campus maybe they should not have the student section have such a phalic [sic] name.”
One: It’s interesting that this student used the word “jipped” — a term considered by many in social-justice circles to be “racially charged” — in an e-mail demanding political correctness perfection.
Two: This whole controversy is alarmingly stupid.
I have personally never heard the word “shaft” used to mean “to be raped.” Now, of course, (unlike this student), I have spent much more of my time learning how spell than learning how to be offended, so I guess it could just be my own ignorance — but neither Merriam Webster Online nor Dictionary.com’s definitions make any mention of that interpretation of “shaft” either .I have, of course, heard it used in the “phallic” sense, but here’s the thing: So what? Does context mean nothing? Because I’m pretty sure that any reasonable person can understand that when the word “shaft” is placed behind the word “mine,” it makes the compound phrase “mine shaft,” — which means just that, and most certainly makes a hell of a lot of sense for a school called “Colorado School of Mines.”
As for that student’s concern that the name doesn’t make sense? Well, it apparently did to most of the student body; why does he or she get to be the single deciding vote? To me, it seems like a word that would foster a competitive spirit between the school’s team and its opponents — which I consider to be a healthy, good thing – but I guess it makes sense that a person who can’t even handle hearing the word “shaft” might disagree.
— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.