The resignation of Will Robbins over the publication of an arguably unfortunate cartoon is a regrettable over-reaction and ominous indicator of a deepening chill on this campus. An apology might be in order, and/or a retraction in the next issue of the paper. But surely nothing more. If, however, it is true that Mr. Robbins' resignation was forced upon him as the result of external pressure, and that a campaign is underway to shut down The Sheaf itself, then one has to wonder what has become of students' rights to academic freedom and freedom of speech and expression.
As for the President's intervention, using a communicative capacity actively denied to others on this campus, it was neither necessary nor helpful. It seemed as much an attempt to save the U of S "brand" from the "taint" of controversy as an effort to defend the sensitivities of people perfectly capable of thinking for themselves and making their views plain in the columns of The Sheaf and elsewhere. I may be wrong about this; but, equally, the President may be wrong about the cartoon. At least I am certain The Sheaf does not owe me an apology.
The cartoon is a complex amalgam of image and text, and it could be read as a salutary provocation--provoking the viewer to consider, again, connections between Christianity and capitalism and between Christianity and human sexuality. I happen to think that it is a rather inept gesture in the direction of both those timely and complicated topics. But I can see how others would react both more negatively and more positively than I do to "Capitalist Piglet." They ought to have the right to do so without having their voices pre-empted, especially on a university campus where difference ought still to be distinguishable from division, challenge from outrage.
Please re-install your excellent editor-in-chief while maintaining your independence in a world where consent is relentlessly over-managed and self-censorship promoted as the cure for curiosity and disquiet.
Len Findlay, Professor of English