Ripon College insists on-campus posters commemorating 9/11 have not been banned.
Several news organizations reported that the Wisconsin college refused to allow a September 11 memorial because it would create an environment where “students from a Muslim background would feel singled out and/or harassed.”
But Ripon’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications Melissa Anderson refuted the allegation.
“There has been much misinformation posted related to a recent discussion between Ripon College officials and student members of the Ripon College Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter regarding a 9/11 poster and memorial,” Anderson said.
“Ripon College encourages an environment for free speech and civil dialogue on our campus. The YAF posters are not, and have never been, banned.”
Anderson added that “After receiving complaints from our students about the YAF Islamic extremism posters last year, College officials gave the Ripon College YAF student representatives suggestions as to how to have a discussion about 9/11 this year with our entire campus and community. The annual 9/11 flag memorial is a great example of how YAF students engage the entire community.”
Young America’s Foundation’s Spencer Brown had accused Ripon and its “Bias Protocol board” of trying to “sanitize the truth out of remembering the anniversary of September 11.”
Anderson says that is not true.
“That Bias Protocol Board is not a decision-making board,” Anderson said. “It has no authority. Its job is to hear complaints, hear from those who have been accused of creating something that’s biased and to have an open discussion about ways to avoid it. In no way shape or form, was the word ‘ban’ ever used.”
The Ripon student handbook says the college is “committed to the free speech and open exchange of ideas and views,” and says students can combat bias by “speaking out against, denouncing, and/or interrupting all forms which challenge the Ripon College Diversity Statement or Harassment Policy.”
When Ripon College was founded in 1851, it had strong ties to Protestant denominations. Its first six presidents had backgrounds in Christian ministry.