Duke University cancels motherhood event when pro-life group participates

posted at 4:02 pm on March 29, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The defender of free campus speech FIRE has a new report that has to be read to be believed.  Duke University Students for Life booked a space at the campus Women’s Center for a presentation on the challenging roles of motherhood as part of their “Week for Life” campaign.  The event at the center involved a student and her mother speaking about their relationship and the difficulties each had.  Unfortunately, Duke apparently fears that students might come into contact with pro-life arguments while discussing motherhood — and acted to protect students from the trauma:

Duke University’s Women’s Center has canceled an event about motherhood because the sponsor was engaging in pro-life expression elsewhere on campus. A Women’s Center representative told Duke Students for Life (DSFL) that “we have a problem” and an ideological “conflict” with the event, which was supposedly canceled to protect Duke women from encountering the event during the group’s “traumatizing” pro-life “Week for Life.” The group’s president has turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.

“Duke appears to have an unwritten but officially enforced stance regarding abortion that has resulted in pro-life groups being shut out of the Women’s Center,” said FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley. “This treatment is a deeply hypocritical violation of the Women’s Center’s promise that it ‘welcomes discordant viewpoints from varied experiences.’”

As part of a “Week for Life” series of events held at Duke over March 15-19, DSFL had reserved a Women’s Center space for a “Discussion with a Duke Mother” on March 18. A Duke student and mother was to speak about motherhood and the challenges of being in both roles. But the day before the event, the reservation was abruptly canceled in a voicemail to the group.

Meeting with the group on March 18, Duke Women’s Center Gender Violence Prevention Specialist Martin Liccardo said that because the event was associated with the Week for Life and DSFL, the event could not be held at the Women’s Center.

Liccardo told the group that the prospect of holding a pro-life event in the Women’s Center during Week for Life was too upsetting for some students: “We had a very strong reaction from students in general who use our space who said this was something that was upsetting and not OK. So based on that, we said, OK, we are going to respond to this and stop the program.”

Duke is, of course, a private enterprise and can set any terms it wants for its campus speech.  However, the notion that motherhood is so traumatizing for students who at some point in time all had mothers is too hilarious to ignore.  Motherhood, after all, is an integral part of the lives of most women at some point.   What’s next — banning a speech on apple pie because it might “traumatize” anti-Big Ag activists?

The irony of this is that the event appears to have been intended to show the difficulties of motherhood.  The topic of abortion was apparently not the point of the discussion (but even if it was — why is Duke afraid of it?).  If anything, it could have provided a springboard for discussion about family planning and its options.  Instead, Duke acts as if women will get the vapors if someone mentions “motherhood” in a public space on its campus.  The women who attend the university ought to feel insulted rather than be grateful for this paternalistic intervention.

Of course, what really happened here is that Duke just doesn’t like the notion of pro-life groups on its campus.  Duke and its Women’s Center “welcomes discordant viewpoints from varied experiences” only when those viewpoints all reach the Duke University-approved conclusion.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Strike Twice on March 29, 2010 at 4:30 PM
Does an asterisk in the middle of a word make it more acceptable?

Or do you not find the word itself unacceptable?

In which case, what’s your complaint?

notropis on March 29, 2010 at 4:33 PM

I think you get my point. The asterisk and the acronym are both unacceptable if the word is unacceptable. I’m done with this. If others think I am too sensitive about it, then perhaps I am. I just shudder when I hear or read the acronym because to me the thought is coupled with adultery ..yes I know the mother could be divorced or widowed.

Strike Twice on March 29, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Strike Twice on March 29, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Tip: Don’t ever, ever visit Ace of Spades.

Cicero43 on March 29, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Haunches on March 29, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Liberal chicks are generally unpleasant barkers, go figure.

Hot chicks don’t have time for politics.

NoDonkey on March 29, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Cicero43 on March 29, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Heh

Strike Twice on March 29, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Why is that? Why can’t she be happily married and still deserve the acronym? No one said that the acronym is extra-marital. That’s your supposition. You own it.

Haunches on March 29, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Hmm. I’m tempted to stand up in a crowded Duke area theater and yell “MOTHERHOOD!” Just to see who ducks for cover.

JusDreamin on March 29, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Cicero43 on March 29, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Heh

Strike Twice on March 29, 2010 at 4:52 PM
Why is that? Why can’t she be happily married and still deserve the acronym? No one said that the acronym is extra-marital. That’s your supposition. You own it.

Haunches on March 29, 2010 at 4:58 PM

I said I was done with this….but…put “women” in place of “mothers” and then you tell me if you think its crude or not and whether it is acceptable. I’m an adult, I’ll deal with seeing the acronym, I just don’t think its civil.

Strike Twice on March 29, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Like I said, I think the objection is not so much to someone being against abortion, but the fear that motherhood might cause liberal women to outgrow liberalism.

Sekhmet on March 29, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Perhaps giving birth is considered to be gender violence?

Greg Toombs on March 29, 2010 at 5:06 PM

I said I was done with this….but…put “women” in place of “mothers” and then you tell me if you think its crude or not and whether it is acceptable. I’m an adult, I’ll deal with seeing the acronym, I just don’t think its civil.

Strike Twice on March 29, 2010 at 5:04 PM

you’re a M***, aren’t you

blatantblue on March 29, 2010 at 5:08 PM

This is just insanity. These people needs to be ridiculed.

darwin on March 29, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Perhaps giving birth is considered to be gender violence?

Greg Toombs on March 29, 2010 at 5:06 PM

It’s certainly discrimination based on gender. It unfairly subjects one gender to pain and suffering. Pregnancy has a diparate impact on a certain group of individuals, females, therefore it is un-Constitutional and is hereby struck down.

Pregnancy is outlawed. The ULTIMATE abortionist ruling.

BobMbx on March 29, 2010 at 5:10 PM

MILF experiences have been some of the very best for me. The conclusion one should take from this statement is that MILF-qualifying individuals are humans who have wants and needs they are brave enough and confident enough to express.
.
Commenters like Strike Twice want to drive the conversation by expressing personal distaste, outrage, disgust, disapproval, and inflexibility towards others in order to get their way. That’s called “censorship.”
.
Don’t allow bigots like Strike Twice to manipulate you into second class status. Tell Strike Twice, third strike, you’re “OUT!”

ExpressoBold on March 29, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Pregnancy is outlawed. The ULTIMATE abortionist ruling.

BobMbx on March 29, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Not so fast. Outlawing pregnancy has a substantial negative impact on Interstate commerce by eliminating completely OB/GYN services, strollers, diapers, toys, baby-sized clothing, etc.

The Supreme Court reverses itself, and declares that all persons capable of becoming pregnant shall become pregnant forthwith. Owing to the natural gestation period, those eligible for pregnancy shall become pregnant no less than 1 once per year until age 50.

BobMbx on March 29, 2010 at 5:16 PM

ExpressoBold on March 29, 2010 at 5:16 PM

same here man
many good memories
lots of good advice
and good times

blatantblue on March 29, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Not so fast. Outlawing pregnancy has a substantial negative impact on Interstate commerce by eliminating completely OB/GYN services, strollers, diapers, toys, baby-sized clothing, etc.

The Supreme Court reverses itself, and declares that all persons capable of becoming pregnant shall become pregnant forthwith. Owing to the natural gestation period, those eligible for pregnancy shall become pregnant no less than 1 once per year until age 50.

BobMbx on March 29, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Right, not only that … it puts the communist democrat baby killing abortion empire out of business.

darwin on March 29, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Valparaiso University,

right2bright on March 29, 2010 at 4:12 PM

That’s so true. Class of ’82

Jeff2161 on March 29, 2010 at 5:26 PM

In a nutshell:

“Celebrate diversity! Celebrate diversity! What? They wanna talk about what? HATERS! Destroy them!!!!”

Bruce in NH on March 29, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Strike Twice on March 29, 2010 at 4:28 PM

I was just trying to make a point. While I choose not to use like that and I try not to use extreme profanities (because that was how I was raised), I don’t suggest banning the use of such words or terms, at least among adults.

Sporty1946 on March 29, 2010 at 5:27 PM

OMG, someone on campus talking about M-word? Was it the Womans Lacrosse Team?

Wade on March 29, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Hot chicks don’t have time for politics.

NoDonkey on March 29, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Michelle, Ann, A Carp, MKH, SE Cupp, Andrea Tantaros, Monica Crowley…….

TugboatPhil on March 29, 2010 at 5:34 PM

Duke Mother’s Conference – Wymin welcome, babies not so much.

TugboatPhil on March 29, 2010 at 5:35 PM

This may sound odd, but I went to campus last year and was STRUCK at the ugliness of the women. As the school has gotten more selective, it’s admissions have apparently scraped the bottom of the barrel in terms of attractiveness. By the time I left, my neck was sore from grimacing. They may just be jealous that anyone else had the opportunity to even get pregnant.

Haunches on March 29, 2010 at 4:50 PM

See here now, my sweet daughter is a double Dukie and she is quite cute if I do say so myself. I did notice an alarming lack of personal hygiene among most college students, leading even the attractive ones to look cruddy. This is why Tide markets a product that “freshens” clothes without having to actually wash them-the students couldn’t care less about cleaning up! All that to say that Duke is as liberal as the next college campus, but many young men are pleased to find a conservative gal in the mix.

2L8 on March 29, 2010 at 5:35 PM

Hypocrisy . Gotta love it.

Interesting that Duke is named after a tobacco baron. Their school was built on death.

CWforFreedom on March 29, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Do Mother’s Day cards constitute hate speech now?

trubble on March 29, 2010 at 4:12 PM

I am just starting to read the comments but I think this would make an awesome protest to the Women’s Dept. at Duke.

Cindy Munford on March 29, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Duke’s president, Richard H. Brodhead, can be contacted at president@duke.edu

WarEagle01 on March 29, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Their school was built on death. By slaves. For a Monarch.
CWforFreedom on March 29, 2010 at 5:54 PM

FIFY.

BobMbx on March 29, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Confused about the the MILF brouhaha. Liking doesn’t make it so.

Cindy Munford on March 29, 2010 at 6:07 PM

Why the hell does any parent send the kid to duke. If I saw duke on a resume I would put it in the fireplace.We need workers not slugs and idiots.One would think enrollment would dry up at this school.They produce any useful students?

Col.John Wm. Reed on March 29, 2010 at 6:09 PM

*sigh*

not surprised, after their bashing of their own students instead of defending them…this is just par for the course

cmsinaz on March 29, 2010 at 6:16 PM

not surprised, after their bashing of their own students instead of defending them…this is just par for the course

cmsinaz on March 29, 2010 at 6:16 PM

the lacrosse boys

cmsinaz on March 29, 2010 at 6:16 PM

Valparaiso University,

right2bright on March 29, 2010 at 4:12 PM
That’s so true. Class of ‘82

Jeff2161 on March 29, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Class of ’99 here. :-)

There are numerous protestant (for example) denominated institutions of higher learning that stay true to their religious founding.

The professors, however, may be of all stripes, and some curricula may be more secular than others.

YMMV

Tak_Bulgogi on March 29, 2010 at 6:21 PM

I’m partialy with Strike Twice. You that use such language take this place down to the level of a locker room. It is crude, coarse, vulgar and the opposite of polite company. You speak in the presence of daughters and mothers though you acknowledge it not. The acceptance by some should not stop you from keeping this place welcome to all. In former days, your language would earn you a horsewhipping from the father and a fight from the brothers. Shotgun wedding were made for the behaviour some of you so casualy boast of. You act like lost boys, not men. You rut like dogs devoid of conscience. I’d call you MFers except you might have enough sense left to avoid your own mothers, though not out of any visible principles. Mother in the acronym is someone who was not your wife, and you act like, and some admit to, not making the ladies your wives. Adultery does not hold you back. Fornication does not stop you. You invented the phrase serial monogamy as a cover. You toy with women’s heartstrings. You are a cad, a greasy leisure suit wearing playa. Your kind harms women and destroys families. You summon up the spirit of every dad who walks away from his kids and does not pay child support. Your comments have the same place here as saying that there are blacks you want to burn (BILB), except you insult nearly half the planet. F*** = one of the cruder terms for sex treating the woman as an object there solely for your satisfaction with not even the responsibility to buy dinner. You are open in your smoky-roomed leering. You are bald faced in your derogatory comments. Any woman with self respect would turn away from you. You can no longer blush. Your coarseness has become so casual, so common, that you not only engage in it, boast in it, but defend it. You are like a disorderly drunk. Everyone knows you don’t have self control, but you are loud anyway. Or at least you encourage such a coarse view. After rolling around in the sewer, don’t complain when other point out that you stink.

But, given the private venue, you can say what they allow. We just know what kind of people you are.

AnotherOpinion on March 29, 2010 at 6:49 PM

One would think enrollment would dry up at this school. They produce any useful students?

Col.John Wm. Reed on March 29, 2010 at 6:09 PM

Nah, we all went down the road to Carolina or NC State.

Lurking Vet on March 29, 2010 at 6:51 PM

“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.”
Liz Stanton

After what happened to the Lacross players should we be surprised?

faol on March 29, 2010 at 6:55 PM

MILF experiences have been some of the very best for me. The conclusion one should take from this statement is that MILF-qualifying individuals are humans who have wants and needs they are brave enough and confident enough to express. are vulnerable and can be preyed upon.
.
ExpressoBold on March 29, 2010 at 5:16 PM

FIFY.

Commenters like Strike Twice want to drive the conversation by expressing personal distaste, outrage, disgust, disapproval, and inflexibility towards others in order to get their way. That’s called “censorship.”
.
ExpressoBold on March 29, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Hypocrite. And no, it’s not.

Don’t allow bigots like Strike Twice to manipulate you into second class status. Tell Strike Twice, third strike, you’re “OUT!”

ExpressoBold on March 29, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Your second classness comes attached with your actions.

AnotherOpinion on March 29, 2010 at 6:56 PM

The really ironic part of all of this is that by promoting – and perhaps even encouraging – abortion, these liberals are ensuring their eventual extinction. I mean, think about it: there will be fewer of them born, and the ones who are will be encouraged to carry on the “tradition”, so there will be even fewer in the following generation.

As they start to die off – and as conservatives keep growing in number – their viewpoints become less and less available to the mainstream. As conservatives start to take over the population, their ideas are the ones that start to be considered more mainstream. Their kids will be less likely to want to be liberals, as they will see nothing of benefit in it.

So let them have their hate-filled ideas. The universities that continue to promote this manner of thinking/teaching will get less money from families, because they will not want to pay for their children to attend those schools. The schools will either have to adapt or close their doors. No matter how “evil” people may think that money may be, in the end, they are all perfectly willing to make and spend it….

TeresainFortWorth on March 29, 2010 at 6:58 PM

Haunches on March 29, 2010 at 4:50 PM

That’s why the cheerleaders are not allowed on the field during football games. They keep trying to graze.

faol on March 29, 2010 at 7:01 PM

I said I was done with this….but…put “women” in place of “mothers” and then you tell me if you think its crude or not and whether it is acceptable. I’m an adult, I’ll deal with seeing the acronym, I just don’t think its civil.

Strike Twice on March 29, 2010 at 5:04 PM

I’m with you Strike Twice-sort of. I don’t think it should be banned here, but I do think it is extremely disrespectful and not complimentary at all. My son almost got into a fight with one of his acquaintances whom he overheard saying this about me.

AnotherOpinion on March 29, 2010 at 6:49 PM

Well said.

Back to the topic, I think bombarding them with Mother’s Day cards is a great idea. I keep picturing the court scene in Miracle on 34th St, with bags and bags of cards pouring in.

macblanegirl on March 29, 2010 at 7:15 PM

I don’t know why the quote function didn’t work-it looked right in the preview. Oh well.

macblanegirl on March 29, 2010 at 7:17 PM

One would think enrollment would dry up at this school. They produce any useful students?

Col.John Wm. Reed on March 29, 2010 at 6:09 PM

Well, yes, they do produce a few useful students. Duke has a medical school, business school, engineering school, divinity school and law school just like may other major universities. These schools are where the more conservative students can be found. Like many other major universities, the loonies are mainly in the humanities departments. Painting the whole university with a broad brush is like agreeing that all tea partiers are angry white men. Look at the bigger picture! Talented young people from all over the world are enrolled at Duke. Just because the administration makes an ass of itself once in a while does not mean that EVERYONE there thinks alike.

We are the salt of the earth; it doesn’t do any good for the salt to stay in it’s shaker. Mix with the community you are in. There are conservatives everywhere-even in liberal enclaves-and they are doing good.

2L8 on March 29, 2010 at 7:42 PM

I second Strike Twice’s opinion about using crude, gutter language to refer to women who are not “asking” for men to debase their value simply because they look good and you can’t control yourself or your thoughts. No, I’m not for banning any language, but the argument that we are all adults doesn’t really fly either. If you were an adult, you would control yourself and treat women w/ a little respect vs. treating them like something off a porn site and expecting them to take it as a compliment.

Cheesestick on March 29, 2010 at 7:55 PM

I like the idea of sending them Mother’s Day cards. Send ones with lots of ribbons, hearts, and flowing lines of poetry – if that doesn’t faze them enough, send some with Bible versus. That’ll knock them out.

And about the term “MILF,” as a woman and mother, I have no problem with it at all. My husband refers to me as one quite often – after all, I’m a mother that he enjoys having ‘relations’ with. I don’t know why people jump to the conclusion that by using that acronym, that we’re delving into the realm of adultry. I understand it can be offensive, but things like this only have as much meaning as you ascribe to them. Me, it makes me think of how sexy mothers can be – just because we’ve given birth does not mean we’ve lost our sexiness or our ability to be attractive. In my opinion, being a mother only adds to that. So I’m a proud to be a “MILF,” at least to my husband. All others need not apply.

Anna on March 29, 2010 at 8:04 PM

What is good will be called evil, and what is evil will be called good.

JustTruth101 on March 29, 2010 at 8:17 PM

Just saw this (I know I’m late to this party!), but Ed, “someone left the irony on” is an hilarious caption for this thread!
You are one witty guy!

Jenfidel on March 29, 2010 at 8:24 PM

Maybe they would have been approved if they said their discussion would be “How The Male Jock Culture At Duke Oppresses Women.” They’d have faculty sign letters of support!

hadsil on March 29, 2010 at 8:38 PM

This confirms my long held suspicion that “Women’s Center,” “Women’s Studies” etc. means pro-abortion women’s center, etc.

By the way, I was president of Duke Students for Life in the early 80′s. I am proud they are still going strong.

WannabeAnglican on March 29, 2010 at 8:54 PM

Anna on March 29, 2010 at 8:04 PM

That’s the thing Anna–I would have no problem with a husband using that to describe his wife. Knowing my ex-husband the way I do, had that term been in vogue when we were married, I’m certain he would have used it on me and I wouldn’t have had a problem with that. But when other men use it regarding other people’s wives, mothers, sisters; that’s when it becomes disrespectful.

macblanegirl on March 30, 2010 at 12:43 AM

I’m not sure how the term became so acceptable.

blink on March 30, 2010 at 1:20 AM

It became acceptable in exactly the same way that all kinds of lowbrow speech has been adopted. People use it and dare you to criticize them for it. If you do they call you prudish or a speech nazi. We can talk about MILFs all we want, but don’t you get caught talking about God. That is really disgusting.

Hawthorne on March 30, 2010 at 2:52 AM

blink on March 30, 2010 at 1:20 AM

You’re right blink, that’s exactly what it’s like. I’m not really sure how it became so acceptable, but my tendency is to think that being considered sexy is so important to some women now, that they allow men to get away with things like that. And we know some men can be pigs at times and will do whatever a woman lets them get away with. So why should they stop when no one is calling them on it?

macblanegirl on March 30, 2010 at 2:55 AM

Amen Hawthorne.

macblanegirl on March 30, 2010 at 2:56 AM

So exactly how was Duke planning on having Alumni children attending in the future?

Eliminating Grampa/ma and Mom/Dad from the Alumni ranks is foolish. They should be encouraging Motherhood/Fatherhood of 3 or 4 (after graduation and possibly even marriage).

barnone on March 30, 2010 at 10:46 AM

I wonder if Anna’s husband likes hearing men tell her that they want to fu** her.

Because that’s exactly what the term implies when used about someone else’s wife, mother, sister, etc.

I’m not sure how the term became so acceptable.

blink on March 30, 2010 at 1:20 AM

Heh. Nobody, and I mean nobody, other than my husband calls me a MILF. I had twins and got fat – so I like hearing my husband say it, but I’ve never heard anyone else call me one. And if you read what I had typed at the end (all others need not apply), I don’t care what others say, whether they find me attractive or repulsive. My husband doesn’t either – we don’t have the attention span to worry over every little thing in popular culture/the internet.

I’d suggest it’s much easier to ignore the term MILF and those like it, rather than try to yell into the wind against it. Give it another 5 years, and it’ll be gone.

Anna on March 30, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Didn’t a court just decide on a similar issue, where an prom was canceled due to someone’s proposed speech in attending?

jbsaff on March 30, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Comment pages: 1 2