Hate symbol on ball riles campus

Kaelia Neal, Editor-in-Chief

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The Linfield Young Americans for Liberty group’s free speech ball outside of Walker Hall on April 12 received attention from students and faculty when a student drew Pepe the Frog, which has recently been appropriated by white supremacist groups.

Linfield College posted a picture of the ball on its Instagram account but was later removed because of the frog’s association with alt-right groups.

“As soon as it was pointed out that the photo included the image, the Instagram post was removed,” President Thomas Hellie said.

The free speech ball event, the first event in the Speak Freely Series at Linfield, encouraged students to express themselves by writing and drawing on the ball to promote free speech.

Pepe the Frog is a popular Internet meme that has often appeared in humorous ways. The Anti-Defamation League has listed Pepe the Frog on its Hate Symbols Database.

“I only heard about it second-hand, and I understand that it is a place for free speech but in all reality, it was certainly done in very poor taste,” junior John Christensen said.

According to its website, the YAL’s mission is to “ identify, educate, train, and mobilize youth activists committed to “winning on principle.” Our goal is to cast the leaders of tomorrow and reclaim the policies, candidates, and direction of our government.”

A member of YAL drew the Pepe the Frog on the ball, but asked to remain unidentified.

“I know the person who drew Pepe. He didn’t draw it to be negative. He drew it to be funny,” senior Parker Wells, a member of YAL, said.

“We understood some groups appropriated the image, but any image can be appropriated,” he said.  

Wells said his goals with the free speech ball were to get people thinking about their rights to free expression and to bring more attention to the YAL group.

“I understand that it’s necessary to set limits, but I don’t think this cartoon frog is a limit to set for free speech. I find it unfortunate that people can’t enjoy this event because of the frog image,” he said.

Wells said that this was an “overreaction” and “it doesn’t make the college look particularly strong or open-minded.”

Lucas Carter is the president of YAL at Linfield, and the group is working toward becoming an official club. Approximately 20 students are signed up to receive emails.

“Young Americans for Liberty prides itself on free speech,” Carter said. “We believe that it is a natural and fundamental right for everyone to be able to express their views openly to engage intellectual discussion and prevent echo-chamber situations.”

As a part of its Speak Freely Series, YAL is bringing Dr. Jordan Peterson to campus on Monday, April 24. The group is also showing the documentary “The Red Pill” on Tuesday, May 2.

“I find both the invitation of Jordan Peterson and the screening of the documentary “The Red Pill” by the “Young Americans for the Liberty” club extremely problematic. Problematic because neither Peterson nor the film will be promoting dialogues about gendered inclusions but rather be promoting a dangerous and offensive logic of gendered exclusions,” Professor of English Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt said.

“The promotion of such exclusionary practices greatly threatens “safe spaces” for our students, staff and faculty who belong to marginalized groups and violates our ethos of upholding “mutual respect” on our campus,” Dutt-Ballerstadt said.

The Presidents Diversity Committee will hold a discussion at 5:30 p.m. on Monday in the Pioneer reading room titled “Free Speech: What it is, and What it is Not.”

The discussion will examine free speech, and members of the Linfield community are encouraged to attend.

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41 Responses to “Hate symbol on ball riles campus”

  1. Ken on April 18th, 2017 10:00 am

    Professor of English Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt is WAY OFF BASE when prejudging what Professor Peterson will speak about. How on earth does Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt know? Really?

    This is an example of what YAL is fighting against; suppressing free speech because you think you may not agree with the message!

    Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt is TEACHING and likely promoting this type of intolerance. Wow. Linfield deserves better.

  2. Alex on April 18th, 2017 2:52 pm

    Even if you DO do know what someone will talk about and disagree, still doesn’t give you the right to take away their freedom of speech!

  3. Bob on April 19th, 2017 1:22 pm

    Free speech does not include harmful speech that degrades or isolates part of America’s diverse population. Restricting a speaker does not preclude limiting free speech if the speaker is harming the basic foundations of our constitutional structure. This man is harming and opposing our constitutional structure. Hence, it is not limiting free speech but preventing antiAmerican hate speech.

  4. Andria on April 19th, 2017 7:43 pm

    Free speech does actually include “harmful speech that degrades or isolates part of America’s diverse population” And it does so for two reasons; 1. Because what is considered harmful or degrading is broadly open to interpretation and therefore cannot be limited by one group or another’s interpretation of it without infringing on the freedom of speech itself and 2. Because we hold freedom of speech to be imperative to freedom altogether and therefore must protect fiercely, even at the cost of offense, the right to keep speech unlimited so far as is possible. That being said, we should always strive to be inclusive and thoughtful with our speech but even when it is perceived as exclusive and hateful, it is still protected by the constitution. There are limits to free speech but it is a high mark to reach. Restricting a speaker is restricting speech. Linfield has the right to do so but this action lends itself to limiting expression of ideas in the name of coddling offense.

  5. Franklin on April 19th, 2017 10:48 pm

    You’ve clearly either never read, or understood what the First Amendment is and what it guarantees. I encourage you to pick up a copy of the Federalist Papers and even look at a few SCOTUS cases re: free speech to brush up on your knowledge.

  6. Bob on April 20th, 2017 12:50 am

    Actually, I used the federalist papers and our senates and courts discussions to come up with the factual points I made.

  7. Clay on April 21st, 2017 7:10 am

    Free speech has no caveats. I don’t know where you delusional liberals got this idea from – one’s perception of “hate speech” does not supersede the First Amendment.

  8. Clay on April 21st, 2017 7:13 am

    “Actually, I used the federalist papers and our senates and courts discussions to come up with the factual points I made.”

    And this egregious ineptitude is why all of America is so blessed that you are not a part of our Judicial Branch.

  9. American Student on April 22nd, 2017 9:56 am

    Yes. It. DOES!

  10. Parker Wells on April 18th, 2017 10:06 am

    As coordinator of the Speak Freely Series, I strongly dispute professor Dutt-Ballerstadt’s assertion that our upcoming events threaten student safety. Her hyperbolic claims are escalating a tense situation and scaring students. That is not productive for fostering a peaceful academic climate at Linfield, and it makes campus life very difficult for the YAL students. Linfield college is dedicated to promoting diversity, which is supposed to allow for a multiplicity of perspectives to coexist here. I invite Dutt-Ballerstadt to message me personally and to attend both events- hopefully we can come to a greater understanding and quickly deescalate this conflict.

  11. Marcus A. on April 18th, 2017 10:51 am

    When I studied philosophy at Linfield, I was taught to engage with opposing viewpoints through reason and discussion. Attempting to silence dissenting views is not what I would expect of Linfield faculty or students.

    There are two options for students “afraid” of Dr. Peterson.

    1. Attend his talk, take notes, and ask an insightful question challenging his conclusions.
    2. Don’t attend the talk.

    Anything else does a disservice to the intellectual integrity of the college.

  12. . on April 18th, 2017 12:45 pm

    “extremely problematic”

    Translation: I don’t have a valid argument against Peterson, I just don’t like him and can’t rebut him.

  13. Wayne Frazer on April 18th, 2017 12:49 pm

    What students should find problematic is college professors who appear afraid to hear viewpoints which differ from their own. Have some “mutual respect,” Ms. Dutt-Ballerstadt, and quit being intolerant.

  14. Gabriel on April 18th, 2017 1:40 pm

    Stupid article, no one on your idiotic council should be considered an academic, enlightened, or able to suppress free speech of people who are infinitely more intelligent than you all combined. I.e. Jordan Peterson

  15. Michael on April 18th, 2017 3:31 pm

    Well, this poorly balanced bit of journalism raises one good point: everyone wants to feel safe. The article ignores the probability that Pepe has undergone a 3rd iteration of its symbolism. The article draws support from Professor of English Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt, who offers up an opinion about something he or she clearly hasn’t closely examined. Jordan Peterson has hate-focused supporters, but most are not. Many of his supporters could be said to belong to the identity groups that Dutt-Ballerstadt claims Peterson aims to exclude. Most of the supporters are just sick of the doctrinaire atmosphere of himanities & social science departments across the west. You have made a mountain out of a molehill, Ms. Neale.

  16. Whit on April 18th, 2017 6:59 pm

    The amount of power a little drawing of a cartoon frog has is utterly ludicrous. Getting riled up over its intent to offend is in itself consenting to the fact that it is offensive to you. The power someone or something has to offend you is the power you allow it to have by choosing to latch on to the idea that everyone has malicious intent, and by not letting stuff go.

  17. . on April 19th, 2017 12:42 pm

    I am absolutely appalled by Linfield actions. This entire school year they have given no thought to white, Christian, or in any other way “majority” students. Free speech means that our voice and opinions can and should be heard too. We listen to everyone else’s views that oppose ours, and when we try to speak up we are told we are racists, homophobes or whatever the new word of the week is. If we want to improve as a society at all, ALL sides need to be heard. No matter if people disagree or not, that is the beauty of free speech. Everyone has different opinions and can see things from different sides. Just because I am white does not mean we cannot find common ground. It does not mean that I have not struggled. Each and every one of us has gone through different things. ALL of them need to be heard. I have looked up this speakers reviews. While granted, he does have extreme followers, the majority of his reviews are very positive. People say that he helped them see the situation in a different light. I have extremely disappointed in Linfield College today. If they do not stop controlling every single thing that is said or done on this campus in an extremely liberal way, this college will not last much longer. Many students have already decided to leave next year, with many more considering it.

  18. Bob on April 20th, 2017 1:03 am

    This is not true. The school supports all students equally regardless of race, religion, gender or sexuality. The only students complaining are those that want special priveledges. No one deserves special anything over any other student. In fact, numbers and enrollment are up for Fall 2017 as the camps includes a place for all, but makes sure no group get social priveledges over others, which is the basis of American values.

  19. American Student on April 22nd, 2017 9:58 am

    The most fundamental right in America free speech. By abandoning this right, and elevating “diversity” and “inclusion” and the toxic mandated ideals of the far left, universities are betraying everything not only America but the entire Western World has always stood for. It is absolutely disgusting.

  20. Bob on April 19th, 2017 1:15 pm

    The problem is that free speech is misunderstood by many as any speech. Free speech does not include harmful or manipulative speech. This professor Jordan uses both speech that harms many communities and uses false logic and Fake Facts to harm the greater community all in pursuit of power and glory. It’s a shame so many people lack the facts that they would support this man, however, it’s important that we recognize his absurdity and begin to teach what free speech truly means. This man hides behind a false understanding of free speech. He goes against logic, against Jesus and unconditional love and against the American values of diversity and community. Shame on him and his followers for spreading hate. I wish the people here the best and God bless.

  21. Erin on April 19th, 2017 9:56 pm

    I have invested many an hour listening to Dr. Peterson’s free lectures on YouTube. He may in fact be one of the only professors I’ve ever listened to who spent time talking about logic, religion, and values in a coherent, respectful manner. As one of his followers I can attest that he has no love for Marxists and postmodernism, but those aren’t exactly American values. Please do your homework and cite your sources when disparaging the work of others.

  22. Bob on April 20th, 2017 12:58 am

    Please read my replies to other posts for where I got my facts. Further, you can’t use logic and religion in the same sentence as they counter each other. I am both a religious man and I love logic, but the two do not mix. Religion is inherently illogical and based on faith which is the absence of fact and logic. God bless you and I wish you the best.

  23. Jenny on April 20th, 2017 5:50 am

    Neuroscience discoveries suggest religious faith and spiritual beliefs are based in similar areas of the brain as areas activated by use of hallucinogenic drugs or meditation. Peace is available to those who seek it.



  24. Erin on April 20th, 2017 8:09 am

    You have not cited any sources. And as for logic in religion, may I refer you to the good book:


  25. Erin on April 20th, 2017 8:37 am

    You used logic and religion in the same sentence. Also, please show me where in the Federalist papers Dr. Peterson violates community norms at Linfield! You may believe things on faith, but the rest of us, including theologians, use textual sources and logic.

  26. American Student on April 22nd, 2017 10:00 am

    “I am both a religious man and I love logic, but the two do not mix. Religion is inherently illogical and based on faith which is the absence of fact and logic. God bless you and I wish you the best.”

    Lol. Totally religious man here. I am an atheist and I don’t get it, why not just be honest about your beliefs rather than lie and slander a religion you don’t understand?

  27. Meatbag on April 19th, 2017 10:08 pm

    “Free speech does not include harmful or manipulative speech”
    You are wrong. Yes, it does include that. Furthermore, YOU do not get to decide what is harmful or manipulative speech.
    “This professor Jordan uses both speech that harms many communities and uses false logic and Fake Facts to harm the greater community all in pursuit of power and glory.”
    Do you have any “facts” or “arguments” to back up your claims? No? I thought not. You only have your ideological bias.
    Your entire post is a worthless ad hominem attack. Learn to formulate an actual argument and people might take you seriously.

  28. Bob on April 20th, 2017 12:56 am

    I used the federalist papers of our forefathers, court documents on free speech and Senate discussions. I’d suggest you use your local academic library and do the same.

  29. FXKLM on April 20th, 2017 8:24 am

    There are many complicated and challenging nuances of First Amendment principles and plenty of issues where reasonable and knowledgeable people can disagree. This is not of them. The notion that harmful, manipulative or offensive speech is unprotected is incredibly misguided.

  30. American Student on April 22nd, 2017 9:59 am

    > Free speech does not include harmful or manipulative speech.

    Wrong, sorry.

  31. Carole Lynn on April 23rd, 2017 8:27 am

    Not a hateful word in any of Peterson’s work. Citation please.

  32. Pickles on April 19th, 2017 1:37 pm

    RIP Pepe…feels bad man.

  33. Cody on April 19th, 2017 6:21 pm

    I was wondering if the event Professor Peterson was speaking at was student only or open to the public? If it is open to the public do people need to buy tickets? I guess I’d like to know more about the event. I support Professor Peterson and would love to see him speak. Praise Kek and his prophet Pepe. Haha

  34. Parker Wells on April 19th, 2017 10:54 pm

    The administration withdrew support for the event, so we have moved it elsewhere. The event will be held at Evergreen Museum Falls Event Center. Same date and time: Monday, April 24th, 7 pm.

  35. Bob on April 20th, 2017 1:11 am

    They had to withdraw support as it violated the rules for non campus invites. It had nothing to do with the speakers hate speech and lack of facts. He broke the contact.

  36. Brock on April 19th, 2017 10:07 pm

    Bob, I would like to invite you to substantiate your claims. 1) that Dr. Peterson uses false logic and fake facts. 2) that Dr. Peterson’s has views that are even remotely harmful (deliberate or otherwise).

    Furthermore, I invite you to clarify what you believe is hate speech and why you don’t think it is protected. Apart from inciting violence or condoning violence I cant think of anything else that wouldn’t be protected. I’ve never seen or heard Dr. Peterson come even remotely close to encouraging or condoning violence in any way so Im really interested in you informing me on the issue.

    Thanks in advance.

  37. Bob on April 20th, 2017 12:54 am

    I based my statements are the federalist papers of our forefathers, court documents related to free speech and Senate discussions on the topic to come up with the facts I started. I would suggest doing the same research I did through your local academic database.

  38. Brock on April 20th, 2017 2:44 pm

    Bob, as I suspected, you can’t substantiate your claims. How would you like it if someone called your work hateful and harmful without a single quote or citing a single source?

  39. Bob on April 20th, 2017 1:09 am

    I hope all here will research free sperch through Linfield libraries academic databases and stay away from the Internet. Facts over opinion is why I suggest this. God bless and good researching.

  40. Mark on April 20th, 2017 4:09 am

    “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.” –
    Noam Chomsky

  41. NA on April 21st, 2017 6:57 pm

    “Keep it coming, Love!” As KC and the Sunshine Band would say! The SJW authoritarians have become so onerous to deal with, they are shifting the center to the right. You are your own worst enemies! You’re all weaponized children, bad CHILDREN, BAD!

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Hate symbol on ball riles campus