When Folsom Lake College officials discovered a poster with a picture of Pepe the Frog posted on an office door, they were so terrified that they called the local police just in case the posting of the highly offensive poster was part of a larger trend.
FLC faculty members have also informed their students that they are treating the incident with “the highest level of seriousness” and conducting a sweep of the campus just in case more scary cartoon frog pictures are hiding somewhere on the campus grounds.
Ironically, Pepe was not created to make a political statement. It was once part of a cartoon series and was too focused on exemplifying bad manners to worry about which party happened to control the presidency. However, when failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called the frog a right-wing character and its likeness began to pop up on websites that the mainstream media deems to be far-right, Pepe the frog became a popular character for representing politically incorrect topics on online forums such as Reddit or 4chan.
Given this fact, it is not surprising that Folsom Lake College officials put a priority on addressing the offending poster. An email authored by FLC President Whitney Yamamura, Academic Senate President Paula Haug, Classified Senate President Lindsey Campbell, and Student Senate President Cameron Sanders also informed students that ” hate has no place on campus” and let them know that they could report paraphernalia that may be of a hateful or bigoted nature to campus officials. Not surprisingly, the email did not provide information on what constitutes “hateful” or “bigoted”, leaving it up to students to report anything that they happen to think would fall under these criteria.
Ironically, the offending Pepe poster appeared on the bulletin board next to “anti-fascist” posters and a poster from the Democratic Socialists of America, a group that undoubtedly hates a lot of people, including conservatives, climate change deniers and wealthy capitalists who don’t want to pay 70% of their income in taxes. However, the fact that the Pepe poster was the only one to elicit a heavy-handed response from the college should not surprise anyone who pays even a bit of attention to education-related news.
It’s well known that academic officials who effectively control the lives of the students they teach are often hostile toward alternative opinions. Unfortunately, calling the police over a foolish poster is just one of the many ways in which many educational institutions are seeking to foment division and hatred instead of embracing students’ First Amendment rights.
The United States is meant to be a country where people can believe what they like. Unfortunately, many colleges and universities are under the mistaken impression that the Constitution does not apply on their premises. Calling the police over a Pepe the Frog poster that happens to denounce “fascist dog whistles” shows that FLC faculty members are far more concerned about being politically correct than about providing a top-quality education.
Sadly, the problem isn’t just with Folsom Lake College. The recent fiasco there is just a symptom of a common problem at colleges and universities around the country. In the end, the ones who suffer the most from this heavy-handed enforcement of “hate-free” guidelines are not just the students who aren’t prepared to face a world with diverse political opinions, but also society at large who has to put up with uninformed workers who can’t handle holding a job outside a comfortable, secure “safe space”.
~ Liberty Planet