Censorship by Chicanos at Chapman?

While the well-moneyed, Republican-friendly overlords of Chapman University celebrate the school's new film studios, trouble is a-brewin' at my alma mater. Last Monday, the school held a faculty-led panel discussion on free speech and civility after African-American and Latino students complained about some racially charged incidents that occurred on campus last semester. Among the sticking points, according to the Feb. 5 issue of the Chapman Panther: posters for a dance club grafittied with anti-black slurs, an Oct. 16 opinion column attacking the Right's favorite college bogeyman, the Chicano student group MEChA, and posters with the slogan, "No se Puede," a play on the Chicano rallying cry, "Sí se Puede." These incidents aren't surprising in light of how Chapman kicked off its year.

Notably absent from the Feb. 12 discussion was Panther opinions editor Michael Stack, the author of the Oct. 16 anti-MEChA column (he was working that night). That same day, Stack wrote a scathing column about Chapman professor Paul Apodaca, who's the advisor to Chapman's MEChA chapter and was also on the faculty panel discussion. In it, Stack claimed Apodaca and MEChA sought to have him fired from the Panther and boasted he "felt it was too bad that MECha got their feelings hurt."

On Tuesday, someone stole the entire run of the Panther (est. circulation, 2,000). Yesterday, Chapman Dean of Student Joseph Kertes sent a faculty-wide e-mail alert under the subject "An apparant [sic] act of theft....2000 Panther Newspapers," stating "This act served to deprive the campus community of the right to read the weekly newspaper that students pay for and The Panther newspaper staff work very hard to produce."

There are no suspects at the time, but I sure as hell hope MEChA members weren't involved. But you know what? It wouldn't be the first time. Stay tuned...

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