In an e-mail responding to a student’s question about the policy that obtained by Campus Reform, Graduate Community Director Brooks Artis explained that “there have been reports that he and the incident surrounding his death have been used to add to the rape culture as well as being a form of racism.”
Now, the exact content of the “offensive” meme isn’t explicitly stated. Using context clues, however, I’d guess that — as with a similar controversy at the University of Massachusetts earlier this month — all of this stemmed from a student writing or posting something that said “d**** out for Harambe” somewhere. If you’re not familiar with “d**** out for Harambe,” it is a phrase that has become a popular joke/meme since Harambe’s death, and the reason that you’re not familiar is because it has not had an impact on our society whatsoever. That’s right: The phrase “d**** out for Harambe” has actually not resulted in a bunch of flashers running around terrorizing people in the name of a dead gorilla. If that were happening — if students did have to worry that they might encounter a band of sexual deviants with their “d**** out for Harambe” every time they left their dorm rooms — then I absolutely would concede that Clemson had a point. But as it stands, people are just saying and writing “d**** out for Harambe” because they think it’s funny to say and write “d**** out for Harambe,” and that’s actually something that we here in normal-people-land call “not that serious.” Crude? Sure. Worthy of this kind of action? Only if you’re an insane person.