“Goodbye, pretty much every work of literature ever.”

Alexandra Petri dissects the new federal campus speech and discipline code [Washington Post]:

Forget history (too much sex there, and such unenlightened attitudes towards women). Forget pretty much anything by the ancient authors, especially the “Iliad.” …

Maybe that guy who replaces all the plots of classic literature with zombies can get a job going through these great books and removing all the allusions to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature with zombies….

It is vital that campus administrators take sexual assault and sexual harassment seriously. But is diluting the label of sexual harassment really the way to go?

More: Peter Wood/Minding the Campus. Earlier here, here, etc.


  • You forget that the great literary masterpieces that all elementary aged children of the 1950s read, will still be available:

    “Oh! Oh! Oh! See Spot run! See Dick run! See Jane run! Run, Spot, Run!”

    It’s not Ulysses. However, I don’t believe that Dick, Jane, Sally and Spot ever made it to Dublin.

  • The continued availability of the Sally, Dick, and Jane books, which I couldn’t stand even as a six year old, would see to constitute cruel and unusual punishment 🙂

    But, seriously, if we’re talking about non-trivial sexual assault and harassment, why should schools deal with them at all? The police have the resources to investigate such offenses properly and the courts can provide fair trials. What’s the point of having schools adjudicate such offenses using kangaroo courts after minimal investigation?

  • Bill- I am right behind you on this. Rape is a serious crime, and when serious crimes are committed you call the police. Why would encourage schools to be responsible for doling out justice for rape? If a student athlete assaulted someone and knocked them unconscious we wouldn’t expect the school to be responsible for punishment.

  • The medieval universities claimed exclusive jurisdiction under ecclesiastical law for punishing the crimes of their students. The Sorbonne, I believe, even burnt some of its students at the stake in the 1400’s for various heresies.