When an American University takes offence at a “double-entendre”. Tufts University are earning themselves some poor sport points as they defend their decision to suspend their rowing crew for printing up ‘non-uniform’ t shirts with the quote “Check out our cox” printed on the front.
Well – what do you think?
Rowing humour has been limping along quietly and not-so–quietly across athletic chests for years. I went to a regatta once where every person in one crew had shirt quotes like “able-semen”…. Offensive to some, maybe.
We ran a Friday Fun series of blog posts called Cheeky Rowing Tees featuring some of the rowing t shirt slogans Rowperfect readers had spotted. Take a look back in our archive to see the ‘quality’ of humour. Didn’t get much ‘revolt’ from you lot. But read what the local newspaper wrote about the brouha
No university can create a four-year cocoon for its students. Sooner or later they must take their place in society. And when they do, they’ll discover there is a constitutional protection for offensive humor.
Tufts has a clumsy habit of intermittently trodding on the free speech rights of its students under the guise of promoting respect on campus. In the late 1980s, the university went so far as to create a tiered system of free speech protection and restriction zones. In 2007, a university committee cracked down on political satire in the conservative student press, deeming it harassment.
As in the tank-top case, the university came to its senses after some negative publicity. But it shouldn’t be so hard for a great liberal arts university to grasp the importance of free expression.