Recently, several student group panels on the Washington Avenue bridge were vandalized. Panels belonging to the College Republicans, Turning Point USA, Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow, the Bipartisan Issues Group and the Minnesota Republic were all targeted by the vandalizing “artists.”
As the University has caught the vandals and a feast in their honor has been thrown, they must now pretend to punish the guilty parties while equivocating what the College Republicans painted on the bridge with vandalizing University property. President Kaler confirmed the University will continue its legacy of protecting free speech to the smallest extent legally permissible, then deferred responsibility for the punishment to a committee of administrators no longer on staff, who then referred the matter to a low-level bureaucrat in the office of Student Affairs, Unhi Rable.
In a statement released October 10, Rable spoke about how the panels should not have been vandalized and the importance of free speech. However, Rable concluded their statement by condemning the content of the College Republicans panel, equivocating the two. Additionally, Rable’s prescribed punishment for the students took the “blame on both sides” approach.
Additionally, the University has mandated that all of the vandalizing students, as well as the College Republicans who were present painting and repainting their bridge panels complete a one-credit spelling course to remain enrolled at the University.
The course will run for the rest of the semester and will be a requirement to avoid academic suspension for both the College Republicans and the vandals. It is “a fairly routine third-grade spelling course that will meet for 50 minutes once a week with no homework…weekly spelling tests and explanations are the main point of the course,” as the syllabus states.
“Sentiments such as ‘Hate will loose’ are why more students don’t help vandalize… I mean combat bad ideas on college campuses,” Rable said in an exclusive interview with the Minnesota Republic. “I can’t f**king stand Republicans… uh… who can’t spell,” they followed up in explaining why the victims of the vandalism were being punished, “The fact that their new panel says ‘College Repulicans’ is proof that these students should not be welcome in any capacity at the university… until they complete this course.”
Many students at the University were confused by the shared punishment but didn’t care enough about a student group they weren’t a part of to actually do anything.
“Expecting college students to know how to spell is so stupid,” muttered a student walking past the panels the day after the vandalism took place, “but teaching them how to spell is even dumber.”
Other reactions were more heated, “Why the hell does a low-level bureaucrat in the Office of Student Affairs get to decide anything about what students get to do? Shouldn’t they be treating this like a criminal defacement like anyone else would?” Pistof Dood, a fourth-year political science student wondered in an interview on the street. When questioned if he would like to do anything about this incident, Dood shied away from the question, saying, “That just sounds like a lot of work, man,” before pointing the other direction and running off.
President Kaler’s response to the situation has remained constant, “This university will not compromise student safety in the name of free speech. If they can’t even spell, I’m not particularly worried about them posing a threat.” After being informed that the punishment was a one-credit spelling course, Kaler’s face drained of blood and he collapsed deeper into his chair, “Teaching Republicans and the panel vandals how to spell? What were they thinking?” The last sentence was repeated as he rocked and broke down into tears.
While the administration continues to avoid talking about free speech and insists on bringing blame down on both sides, the campus continues to polarize. Vandalizing the bridge has now become acceptable, opening a door that we have no way of closing. Spelling classes may make the acts of vandalism and passive aggression more linguistically correct, but they will not fix the problems behind the whole ordeal.