Politics & Policy

University Students and Administrators Concerned a Satire Article Will Cause Rapes

An all-satire version of the campus newspaper included a how-to for inappropriate relationships.

Critics are saying that a satire piece written by a second-year university student is so bad that it will actually make college campuses more dangerous.

The article, headlined “So you want to date a teaching assistant?” appeared in an all-satire issue of the Gazette, the official student newspaper of Western University in Ontario, Canada.

“This article makes rape culture and sexual violence worse, not better, on campuses,” Society of Graduate Students president Kevin Godbout told the Star, a local newspaper.

Megan Walker, the executive director of the London Abused Women’s Centre, expressed similar sentiments.

“The London Abused Women’s Centre has worked with Western University for many, many years in promoting safe space for students, faculty and staff and this just flies in the face of everything that we have done and the community has done and the students have done,” she told CBC News.

The Society of Graduate Students, as well as a 2,500-person union of teaching assistants, plans to host an assembly that will include a rape-culture panel in attempt to protect students from the potential dangerous impacts of the article, according to the Star.

A school administrator also penned a letter to the newspaper condemning the piece.

Despite the backlash, newspaper staff have declared they will not remove the piece.

The editor-in-chief said that although “you could argue” that the article was in “poor taste” or happened to be “poor writing,” the reaction to something written by a student who is still trying to learn journalism was overly harsh.

“The role of the student press is different from the role and standards of the mainstream press,” he said.

“It’s something we’ll learn from and it’s something we’ll [use to] fine-tune our writing and our editorial process,” he added.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.


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