Campus Free Speech

UMass-Amherst Says Students Won't Get in Trouble for Harambe Jokes. But…

'Dicks out for Harambe' is okay. Probably.

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Harambe
Dreamstime

Friends and supporters of Harambe—the beautiful gorilla who was shot dead by officials at the Cincinnati Zoo earlier this summer—are free to memorialize the great ape in any fashion they see fit: even if they are students at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and even if their thing is saying "dicks out for Harambe."

As I reported yesterday, two UMass-Amherst RAs sent a letter to students who live on the third floor of the Sycamore Honors Dormitory warning them that making jokes about Harambe could be construed as racist microaggressions against the university's residential community for African students, which is also called "Harambe." The RAs further suggested that "dicks out for Harambe"—a popular iteration of the Harambe joke—could be a Title IX investigation.

The university administration now says the RAs were well-intentioned, but they overreached. No student will get in trouble for making Harambe jokes, said Ed Blaguszewski, a spokesperson for UMass-Amherst, in a statement to Reason:

"As an institution that values free speech and and exchange of ideas, UMass Amherst has not taken any steps to ban jokes or references about Harambe the gorilla.

The email sent by two well-intentioned undergraduate student resident assistants was a cautionary attempt to advise new students on their floor that the Harambe reference could be considered offensive to residents of the campus's Harambee community, a residential program focused on African and African-American history and culture, and that all students should be treated with respect and civility."

This statement didn't actually reassure me very much. As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education points out, the university maintains a very broad sexual harassment policy: harassment is defined as conduct that is subjectively offensive, unwanted, and sexually suggestive. It seems to me that "dicks out for Harambe" could easily count as harassment under this definition, even though it ought to be considered protected expression. In other words, I'm concerned that a Title IX investigator could conceivably sanction a student for making the joke, even if the university says it's not specifically banned.

But when I rephrased my question and asked Blaguszewski if telling Harambe jokes could get a student in formal trouble, he replied that this was "not the case."

So it sounds like the students are in the clear, hopefully (Harambe be praised!).

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  1. the beautiful gorilla who was shot dead by officials

    1. IT WAS A NOBLE AND WONDERFUL CREATURE, TAKEN TOO SOON!!!!

      /prog

      *sniffs with disdain and skips over story on Yizidis being killed by ISIS*

      1. I didn’t know the “Dicks Out for Harambe” meme was supposed to be taken seriously, that’s all.

        1. First I’ve heard of it. Have no idea what it’s supposed to mean

            1. Please refrain from these tasteless jokes concerning the situation or you will hear from my lawyers.

              / Richard ‘Dick’ Harambe, Pequot Lakes, MN

          1. “Dicks out for Harambe” originated with a tweet from a fat white kid that is holding a fake pistol at a camera with the caption “dicks out for Harambe”.

        2. Suns out, buns out for Harambe!

          Dicks out, chicks out for Harambe!

          I don’t know… am I playing this game right?

    2. Yeah, how do you know he was beautiful Robby? He could have been ugly as fuck by gorilla standards. I mean, for all we know all the lady gorillas thought he was hideous and he never got laid unless some sexist zookeeper drugged up some gorilla broad and let Harambe have his way with her, which wouldn’t be surprising with all the misogyny in the animal husbandry world.

    3. The beautiful gorilla… that could tear off one of your arms with one yank

      1. I once made an offhand remark around 1:30 am in a bar about slapping a baboon that was on a tv commercial. And a buddy of mine went haywire at me and went into an elaborate yet drunken animated explanation about how it’d probably rip my arms off and eat my face.

        He said “and gorillas are probably worse. Don’t fuck with any of the big monkeys. They’ll kill ya.”

        I guess you had to be there but it was pretty funny watching a drunken grown man physically demonstrate how a baboon or ape would react to being slapped.

        1. watching a drunken grown man physically demonstrate how a baboon or ape would react

          Parroting, if you will.

        2. You need better friends.

          (not to be construed as an offer)

    4. If Robby is a furry, it isn’t my place to judge.

    5. Robby clearly gets the joke.

  2. making jokes about Harambe could be construed as racist microaggressions against the university’s residential community for African students, which is also called “Harambe.”

    HAHAHAHAHAAA!!

  3. Robby, why didn’t you ask him something like “why would a joke about a gorilla make school officials think people were racist against black people? Does UMass-Amherst think there is a connection or similarity between primates and black people? If yes, what is that connection or similarity? If not, why was the issue brought up at all?”

    1. I wondered about that yesterday too, until i actually read the article. The connection: making jokes about Harambe could be construed as racist microaggressions against the university’s residential community for African students, which is also called “Harambe.”

      1. Oh, so by their rationale every time I make a joke about Lewis Black being an annoying fuckhead, I’m microagressing against black people.

        Or every time I point out the corruption of CGI, I’m othering Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg for their use of technology in making movies.

        Sorry, that’s retarded.

        1. I don’t disagree with you, i’m just saying the connection isn’t as cack-handed and blindly racist as it first appears.

          1. It is unless a person fails at differentiating between things with similar proper names.

            But I guess that’s why not too many people name their kids Adolph these days.

        2. In fairness Harambe is a lot less common a name or word than Black, on the other hand if you were ripping on his family in a broad sense that could get misread. As a counter point to the above, the Harambe thing was fairly big news and is quite memetic so most people will likely think Gorilla first.

          I guess in closing: they almost have a point but are clearly are more concerned with gaining petty power.

    2. Because water buffaloes.

  4. Basically the RA’s failed to woo the administration to their viewpoint before the story hit national news. Administrators don’t like surprises.

  5. They don’t understand that they are the one’s comparing African Americans to this gorilla.

  6. But when I rephrased my question and asked Blaguszewski if telling Harambe jokes could get a student in formal trouble, he replied that this was “not the case.”

    “Of course, if anyone *hears* such a joke, *that* case will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of The Law.”

  7. Enough with this stupid fucking gorilla already.

    1. Why do you hate retarded people, Rufus? WHY?!

      Oh, and Good Morning.

    2. Magilla has a sad…

  8. Didn’t know Harambe was a ginger. What about the ginger community?

  9. It seems to me that “dicks out for Harambe” could easily count as harassment under this definition, even though it ought to be considered protected expression.

    Of course a phallocentric male dominant oppressor like Soave is going to leave out the fact that the movement is extremely exclusionary, as those who identify as a gender other than cismale will not be able to particpate.

  10. Yet, jokes about Palin and Trump are a-otay, right?

    They can all screw off.

  11. It seems to me that “dicks out for Harambe” could easily count as harassment

    OTOH, one suspects Harambe had *his* dick out quite bit with impunity.

    1. *quite a bit*

      *** gets coffee ***

      1. Little known fact, relative to their body size, gorilla penises are very small compared to humans.

        Don’t ask how I know this…

        1. How do you know that? Sorry, forgot I wasn’t supposed to ask.

          1. Don’t ask how I know this…

            Let me guess: you manually masturbate caged animals for artificial insemination?

  12. Why did Harambe cross the road?

    Because he wanted to martyr himself to expose faux moral outrage displayed by fucking retards.

    1. To fuck a chicken.

  13. “As I reported yesterday, two UMass-Amherst RAs sent a letter to students who live on the third floor of the Sycamore Honors Dormitory warning them that making jokes about Harambe could be construed as racist microaggressions against the university’s residential community for African students”

    At some point, your story about RAs really should point out that RAs are also students. The RAs who sent those letters to students on the third floor of the dormitory, presumably, were also students on the third floor of the dormitory.

    They never had any place in setting university policy, and they never will. They aren’t elected representatives of the student body. They’re typically just seniors of good standing meant to look out for incoming freshman in exchange for free room and board.

    They have no more authority to set policy than the gardeners or the janitors. Why not spell that out to people from the beginning? Why presume that people know what an RA is? Is it because knowing what an RA is makes it seem like you’re making a big deal out of nothing?

  14. RAs giving students a wedgie would be a bigger deal, and that probably happens somewhere every day. If it doesn’t happen anymore, then that’s tragic–a lost American art really. That would be a more interesting piece, though, “The Decline of the Great American Wedgie”.

    Or isn’t there a yokel janitor who said something disparaging about Mexicans or something that you could write about? I mean, that would be making a big deal about nothing, too–but it would be a bigger deal than two students writing a letter to other students. And at least readers would understand intuitively from the beginning that what janitors say doesn’t change university policy.

  15. “dicks out for Harambe” … ought to be considered protected expression

    OK whew.

  16. Harambe jokes are so hack.

  17. So, uh, is ‘Clams out for Harambe’ verboten? Asking for a crass friend. And for me, because my vow to live schadenfreude-free is failing with the rise of outrage/fucktard culture.

  18. Can someone explain the”dicks out”meme? Are college students honoring a dead gorilla by jacking off to his image?

    Also, it’s kind of creepy how much of that last sentence my phone’s keyboard was able to predict based on previous words…

    1. “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

      Dicks out for Harambe!

    2. Are college students honoring a dead gorilla by jacking off to his image?

      After the monkey* died, the twittersphere went apeshit* making idiotic signaling about how horrible it was that this ‘gentle’ creature was martyred, effectively treating a dumb animal like a fucking living saint. People demanded a “murder trial” for zookeepers, made memorials, fell over one another desperately trying to signal their shared compassion for the beast-in-a-cage which none of them had ever heard of only days earlier.

      The meme-generating gadflies decided that they’d mock this faux-outrage by perpetuating the Harambe worship in perpetuity – constantly referencing harambe as though he were jesus christ/buddha/ died for our sins. “Blessings of Harambe be upon you”. “WWHD”, etc.

      The “dicks out” bit is the concentrated apotheosis of the joke, noting that other monkeys/apes show their approval/honor one another by unsheathing their love-prong and waving it around. Which is…well, sort of true. Monkeys wack-off in public. Getting one’s dick out is a monkey-salute.

      “Dicks Out For Harambe” is a rallying cry, demanding that humans acknowledge their shared monkeyhood, and show the highest levels of respect for the beautiful soul who was taken from us by praising him in the form which other monkeys would understand best. by whipping dicks out.

      hth

    3. **Footnote =

      Alternative to my zoological interpretation of the “dicks out” component…

      …the kids say its a reference to a contemporary rap-slang for “getting your guns out“, suggesting that ‘getting one’s dicks out’ is a cry to violently avenge the unjustly slain Harambe.

      dicks is a slang term for guns in some places (you can hear Young Thug use it a lot). the meaning got lost along the way and now everybody literally thinks it means to pull your dick out.

      [?]BukakeBaratheon 141 points 1 month ago

      I think very few people knew from the beginning what dicks meant. Out of all the people that’ve heard of the meme only Young Thug fans or hip hop fans in general know what it means.

      *for the record, i like my “masturbating monkeys”-idea a lot better.

  19. “the beautiful gorilla who was shot dead”

    Stunning and Bold.

  20. “The university administration now says the RAs were well-intentioned, but they overreached.”

    They used a lot of words to say, “oops, we got caught.”

    1. Well-intentioned, rather like Johson’s road to hell.

      And who among the progressive SWJ’s is going to let a little overreach get in their way? My question is why does anyone listen to anything these little shits say in the first place?

      1. I think this is a question of not being subject to harmful publicity – they want to minimize the publicity by passing this off as a misunderstanding.

  21. In other words, this is still just as much of a non-story as it was when you over-hyped it yesterday. Also, I see that the title of this piece is just as dishonestly deceptive as the title of yesterday’s piece was (the “But…” at the end of this one implies something that just doesn’t exist).

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  26. You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you.
    True power is sitting back and observing everything with logic; true power is restraint.
    If words can control you that means everyone else can control you; Breathe and allow things to pass.

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