Education & Academia

Johns Hopkins Bans Conservative Paper for Story on Porn Director’s Visit

Johns Hopkins University has banned The Carrollton Record—Hopkins’ only independent conservative publication—by prohibiting it in campus dormitories following the release of a controversial issue detailing Hopkins’ financial support of the pornography industry.

In the May 2006 issue of TCR, I chronicled the use of student tuition money to pay for copies of the 1970s porn flick “Deep Throat” and for a campus visit by gay porn director Chi Chi LaRue.

You can imagine my shock when I heard that LaRue was being brought to campus by Hopkins’ gay-straight alliance.

Then, the administration confirmed to me that LaRue was a guest of the university and was being paid tuition dollars.

When I expressed my concerns with school officials, I was met with an absolute statement by Assistant Dean of Student Life Ralph Johnson, who said, “No matter how morally repugnant the speech may be, we have to allow it.”

But when I wrote about how the school was paying for the pornography, that statement seemed to become “more of a guideline than a rule.” Within one day, more than 1,800 copies of the controversial issue, more than 600 issues placed in the library and issues in the residence halls have disappeared entirely.

Downstairs, a group of more than 100 high school students were finishing up a conference—one student even entered the room while LaRue was speaking about his “dirty nasty” films. No form of identification check was performed to make sure off-campus minors did not enter the room.

Johnson told me directly before the event, that “no ID check” would be necessary, but this proved incorrect when LaRue pulled out a duffle bag of free porn which he gave away to any who wanted some merchandise.

The release of my story in our latest issue prompted mail from students calling us “****ing idiot[s]” while in the same e-mail stated “this is not hate mail.”

The controversy continued when The Carrollton Record began to disappear from campus.

We suspected nothing less than theft or university sanctioned destruction of TCR, which is independently funded. When I went to the security department to file a report of theft, I was told rather matter-of-factly that “this wasn’t a theft,” and was escorted to Dean of Student Life Susan Boswell’s office.

Boswell informed me that she had “told everyone to leave it alone,” and then told me that TCR had been banned from the dormitories.

Today an anonymous student who lives in the Homewood Apartments—a dorm covered under the blanket-ban—e-mailed our editor-in-chief, Matthew Czekaj, to inform him that “about two days ago, I overheard a conversation between two security guards; they were talking about the last edition of the TCR. I heard them say that they were planning on throwing all of the copies in the thrash.”

The ban is the direct work of Residential Life Director Shelly Fickau, who told she could restrict free speech and censor where she sees fit if the speech is deemed controversial.

“I have the jurisdiction to decide what goes in these homes,” Fickau said, admitting that this amounted to administration-sponsored “censorship.”

Fickau originally denied any knowledge of what happened with the papers, but within 20 minutes of that denial she called me to confirm that she had the confiscated issues and that we could pick them up on the next day.

In what was essentially university-sponsored theft—each TCR has a face value of $5, and is private property—the university has taken into their possession, and as of this writing not released, more than $1,000 of TCR property. What has happened to the other 1,200 issues suspected of theft has yet to come into the open as Hopkins has so far refused to open a theft investigation.

(It is hard to investigate yourself.)

This afternoon, various TCR editors and myself will be put under the scope of bureaucratic investigations as complaints of harassment have been filed against the TCR with the Equal Opportunity Office.

This all comes after the school unequivocally denied the TCR any funding whatsoever, as well as denied the College Republicans funding for Newt Gingrich to come to campus as well as a gun-safety course.

And as the hits just keep on rolling, news came our way today that the TCR is also forbidden from even advertising in the dormitories with a simple sheet of paper pointing students to our website.

This all-inclusive ban seemingly violates the university policy on free speech, which says that free speech must be protected with the exceptions of harassment, hate speech or threats. “Controversial” was not among the list of exceptions to freedom found in Hopkins’ speech code.

As we clamor to find the remaining issues, and deal with a Hopkins bureaucracy that has accused us of harassment and banned us from distribution all the while paying for pornography for students and stealing copies of the TCR, we are sure to learn a valuable lesson: Education at Hopkins no longer involves simply the works of Edmund Burke and Adam Smith, but has been expanded to include the works of Debbie doing Dallas and Chi Chi doing Hopkins.


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