Campus Free Speech

Did a Student Actually Complain That This Harry Potter Mural Was Racist, Sexist, and Ableist?

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse has a Hate Response Team

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Matthew Lewis
HENNING KAISER/EPA/Newscom

… I can't tell.

A student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse filed a formal complaint with the campus's "Hate Response Team" alleging that a popular mural in one of the dormitories inappropriately depicts "white power, man power, cis power, able power, and class power."

The triggering work of art depicts "before" and "after" versions of Harry Potter character Neville Longbottom, who was portrayed by actor Matthew Lewis in the films. The implication is that students enter the dormitory as the younger, awkward-looking Neville/Lewis, and exit the dormitory as the older, quite handsome Neville/Lewis. It's a joke, of sorts.

But I suppose someone, somewhere, was bound to find it offensive. According to Heat Street, which obtained a copy of the unnamed student's complaint:

The depiction of this metamorphosis "represents our ideal society and everything I am trying to fight against," wrote the offended student, whose name is redacted. "It represents white power. Man power. Cis power. Able power. Class power. ECT [sic] ect. I am angry that I know the people who put this mural up, and I am anger [sic] because I know the people who let this mural be put up. Like I said earlier, maybe I am being a little sensitive, but it is how I feel. This represents, to me, our society, and I do not want it up on this wall. Why do we need a BEFORE and AFTER?"

The complaint, unearthed by a Heat Street records request for reports of bias on UW-La Crosse's campus, was filed in April. We confirmed the mural remains up, despite the student's complaint. By deadline, neither of the students who painted Neville Longbottom's poster had responded to Heat Street's inquiry.

It doesn't get much more ridiculous than that. Of course, the complaint might be fake—the student did not request a follow-up discussion with the university. Indeed, one member of the Hate Response Team seemed skeptical, according to Heat Street:

"Maybe 1,000 people could look at it and say it's fake, they're trying to be funny, but I always try to reach out," [Amanda] Goodenough says. "Maybe it would be an opportunity to have a conversation. That's what we need more of."

National Review's Katherine Timpf took the complaint at face value and mercilessly mocked it.

I'm less sure it's real, though it certainly could be. I've seen complaints that were at least this crazy before.

Perhaps that's the most worrisome takeaway: in our current age of campus hyper-offendedness, it's impossible to tell the genuinely traumatized apart from the trolls. Maybe that should make the university wonder whether it has defined "hate incidents" a little too subjectively.

NEXT: Government Creates a Fake Expert, Won't Release Files on Him Because Privacy

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  1. Does he… does… does he have a Title IX tattoo on his arm?

    1. Why you bein’ so mean?

    2. It is a Title XI tattoo. Title XI is the title that Congress will pass the day after it finally repeals the laws of supply and demand. Title Xi will ban all ableism, cultural approbation, use of any gender pronouns, sexism, racism and all other forms of deviant thought and set up a series of special camps where those who are infected with unacceptable thoughts can be sent for treatment and reeducation.

      1. “Title Xi will ban all… cultural approbation”

        So, that (hate speech) which is not forbidden is mandatory?

        1. I’m sick of seeing the appropriation of Roman numerals by Americans. It’s like, what the fuck, brah?

          1. Actually, white people should only be allowed to use Roman numerals. Don’t tell me you think it’s ok for them to appropriate Arabic numerals? I can’t even.

    3. I was wondering the same thing.

    4. No, he’s just a fan of Face Dancers and axtlotl tanks.

      1. The mural should be corrected to show the metamorphosis of a quadreplegic axtoltl with a tiny sombrero into Zipita the Transpinhead.

    5. No, it’s XI or 11, the year he was hired for the Harry Potter films. And yes, I looked it up, I’m not some Potter fanatic.

      1. He played in the very first Harry Potter film that was shot in 2001, ten years earlier. So, it must be something else.

        1. When he was 11. Sorry for the garble.

      2. Dude, I’ve seen your Potter slashfic. It’s disturbing….

      3. Sez you. Depends on how he holds his arm. I sez it’s Title IX, therefore it’s title IX. Your facts won’t muddle my reality.

  2. in our current age of campus hyper-offendedness, it’s impossible to tell the genuinely traumatized apart from the trolls

    Sorry, Robby, you’re late to that party by at least a decade: Poe’s Law.

    1. Not to mention that there are probably far more in a third group than the other two:

      Those who adopt the label of ‘traumatized’ so they can troll others into behaving the way they want. They’re genuine in their beliefs, but not genuine about ‘trauma’, which has become a Newspeak substitute term for base offense.

      If they simply said “I am offended”, then they would probably receive the proper response: tough titties. If they pretend at trauma, they hear “there, there, I won’t let the bad white cis hetero man hurt you with his displays of privilege.”

      1. And of course the response to “I’m traumatized” should be “that sucks, I feel for you, now go away and get some help and come back when you are able to deal with your trauma and function among normal human beings and we will be happy to have you.”

      2. Those who adopt the label of ‘traumatized’ so they can troll others into behaving the way they want. They’re genuine in their beliefs, but not genuine about ‘trauma’

        Claiming “trauma,” is the equivalent of playing the race card for white SJWs. It’s intended to shut down debate and used to bully their opponents into submission (or more accurately, to get the school administration to bully their opponents into submission on their behalf). What sucks is that after these fuckwits get out into the real world, they’ll push for identical government policies so that they can use the force of government to bully their opponents into submission. Which will end well.

  3. Just cover all the bases and do the before and after of every racial socioeconomic archetype. I personally want to see the broken home, abused, Tom Riddle metamorphosis into the dark, murderer, criminal, overlord; that’d be some powerful stuff.

    1. Edit: metamorphosis into the dark, murderer, criminal, overlordVoldermort

      1. Puts head down and walks shamefully out of the room

        1. Actualy, I think it works just fine without the correction. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was working on world domination, after all.

  4. Nothing says “hire me” to a potential employer like having “member of the university hate response team” on your resume.

    1. I guess you haven’t been near corporate HR departments lately.

    2. I’m still amused by the name “Amanda Goodenough.”

      1. If that isn’t the name of one of the Hogwarts villains, it should have been.

      2. List of failed Bond Girl names?

      3. Sounds like a Bond girl extra to me.

      4. I did know a Gigi Goodenough in high school. So cute, so hawt.

      5. She married Boris Badenov in a strange twist of fate. They both hyphenated.

    3. The new and improved “the process is the punishment” IRS/DOL/SEC/DOJ/EPA/DHS do I have to go on? In a few short decades things have gotten depressingly Eastern Block with regard to the Federal Apparatus.

  5. ABLE POWER, motherfuckers!

    *raises iron-gloved fist in tribute*

  6. “white power, man power, cis power, able power, and class power.”

    Don’t forget wizard power. As a muggle, I am super triggered by this offensive display of maj-supremacism.

  7. I just, I can’t even….

    Vilissa Thompson started the hashtag #DisabilityTooWhite for exactly this reason ? because there isn’t enough representation of disabled people of color.

    Diversity is more than just a buzzword. For those of us who are marginalized, it’s our entire lives. This becomes even truer when we talk about intersectional identities and those who fall into more than one marginalized group.

    I had no idea there were other queer disabled people until I started actively searching for those voices and communities online.

    1. Practically every handicapped parking spot I’ve ever seen has been whites-only or Asians-only. Never a person of color represented, except occasionally blue.

      1. Living in Harlem, I was beset by people in mobility scooters. If nothing else, diabetes is quite a problem among African Americans; do complications from that count as disability in this context?

        1. Actually hypertension is more prevalent among persons of African descent. It is a truly racist disease in that regard, and should be sanctioned as such.

        2. Not to mention sickle cell, which apparently is itself racist* since guess who it presents in?

          *Trick question, since all genetic disease can be considered ‘racist’.

    2. I had no idea there were other queer disabled people

      Why would it never occur to someone that gay people might also through accident or bad luck become disabled?

      1. If it’s not constantly thrust in your face in popular entertainment, then it doesn’t exist.

      2. Because if it’s not online or in the news, it doesn’t exist.

      3. If it wasn’t glorified by pop culture, given special treatment by the government, or arbitrarily forced upon a 50+ year old superhero, then it’s existence is being negated. We might as well bring back Jim Crowe and repeal the 13th amendment.

      4. Because they’re self-centered?

        And they project that onto everyone else of course.

      5. It’s because this individual literally didn’t give a shit until they themselves were in that boat. Now that they’re in it, they plan to run it.

    3. I celebrate all my cripplefag brothers and sisters and non-gender-binary-wheeled-persons.

      1. The transgendered, queer, disabled person of color must be like the Holy Grail to these people. They would bow down and worship at the feet of their wheelchair.

        1. The apex of the grievance pyramid. Xe would get all of the multiplier bonuses.

          1. Just imagine how glorious that cake would be.

        2. Didn’t George H. W. get in trouble for talking about crippled lesbians of color once? One generaton’s off-color joke is another’s reality.

    4. “Diversity is more than just a buzzword. . . . . it’s our entire lives.”
      Now, THAT is just sad.

      1. Yes it is. But I have a feeling that is just the tip of the sadness iceberg with these people.

        1. But- just the tip. It’s OK baby, just the tip. You’ll like it.

      2. I’m pretty sure you are correct.

      3. #DiversityBuzzwordTooWhite

    5. Wait a minute. This girl is black, handicapped and a lesbian? Holy shit, thats like the holy grail of grievance mongering, isnt it?

      1. black, handicapped and a lesbian

        If only she were also trans or at least “gender fluid” too.

        1. Isn’t everyone by now?

      2. Yes, hoaxed like the holy grail as well.

        http://www.wweek.com/portland/…..ictim.html

        1. I like the end portion, where she claims to have another tumor. Different place, same shtick.

    6. Vilissa?

  8. Perhaps the trolls are the answer. Sort of like Attack Watch, the way to bring the thing down is to overwhelm the system with chicken shit complaints and eventually lawsuits when the U can’t service or investigate the complaints quickly enough.

    1. I think Universities actually need to hire a team of people to stare at these snowflakes all day.

      Then just have some boilerplate that says, “What xey did, we saw it.” ready any time a complaint is filed.

  9. I always try to reach out,” [Amanda] Goodenough says

    I don’t believe a word of this story, from the “harry potter mural” in a *college* dorm, to the made-up names of the Hate Response Team-members….

    1. I’m pretty sure Heat Street is covered with a collage of current teen pop artists and runs features about what their favorite food is and who they are(n’t) in relationship with.

      Precisely the type of journalism I would expect Robby to cover as part of his purview.

  10. I’m still amused by the name “Amanda Goodenough.”

    Her maiden name was, “Hugginkiss”.

    1. As a tip of the hat to the ever-virtuous Robbie, one should ask if she is another rape-hoaxing friend of Jacqueline Coakley?

    2. But is she good-enough for government work?

  11. The depiction of this metamorphosis “represents our ideal society and everything I am trying to fight against,” wrote the offended student, whose name is redacted. “It represents white power. Man power. Cis power. Able power. Class power. ECT [sic] ect. I am angry that I know the people who put this mural up, and I am anger [sic] because I know the people who let this mural be put up. Like I said earlier, maybe I am being a little sensitive, but it is how I feel. This represents, to me, our society, and I do not want it up on this wall. Why do we need a BEFORE and AFTER?”

    Did trigglypuff recently transfer there? Good God, I really hope that’s fake, but wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not.

    Perhaps that’s the most worrisome takeaway: in our current age of campus hyper-offendedness, it’s impossible to tell the genuinely traumatized apart from the trolls. Maybe that should make the university wonder whether it has defined “hate incidents” a little too subjectively.

    That would require the university to admit it made a mistake, which of course will never happen.

  12. And, do my eyes deceive me, or have we finally had an idiotic “campus snowflake complains about stupid shit” story that is so ridiculous that even Robbie couldn’t come up with a “But on the other hand I can see why they would complain but…” line to troll the commentariat with? This is one of the signs of the apocalypse, right?

    1. Rico loses the mealy-mouthed equivocating when Harry Potter is involved. Don’t fuck with Hogwarts, amirite, brah?

      1. You know Robby has played some quidich in his day. You know he has that broom in the back of his closet.

        1. You know Robby has played some quidich in his day.

          If it was while skydiving that would be pretty badass, but I suspect he’s only played the gay kind where a bunch of nerds run around with broomsticks between their legs.

          1. That is my guess as well. He has the quidich broom in the closet and the national mall kickball team t-shirts hanging next to it.

          2. Unsure if euphemism or truth.

  13. I cant help but wonder how much of this kind of shit is trolling. I know I would do it if I were there.

    Keep rubbing their noses in their own idiocy until they choke on it.

    1. If I were back in college, I would spend all of my time finding ridiculous things to be “triggered” by. I would find the most mundane murals and come up with ways they traumatized me, complain about them endlessly, until they realized that they opened a pandora’s box of bullshit.

      1. until they realized that they opened a pandora’s box of bullshit.

        In other words, forever. They’ll never admit that they fucked up.

        1. That’s fine. I’d be just as happy making their lives a living hell for four years.

  14. Why do we need a BEFORE and AFTER?

    How else do we tell who’s a piece of shit loser, I mean, aside from their ridiculous claims of offense.

  15. “Hate Response Team”

    Do they chant HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE, when responding to a report?

  16. The most worrisome takeaway: students at the University of Wisconsin write that badly. Srsly, bro, do you even English?

  17. This stuff has been happening for a while. Back in the late Eighties at SUNY Binghamton, each floor of a certain community’s dorm had cartoon murals of various famous cartoon characters. One floor had Marvin the Martian.

    Need I say what happened?

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