February 13, 2015
Theft rarely becomes a front-page news story at a college like Hamilton, but in certain instances it is a broader issue. Typically on Mondays, the community has the opportunity to read Enquiry, a publication of the AHI Undergraduate Fellows. However, this past Monday, virtually every issue of the publication was removed from public spaces such as McEwen and Commons dining halls and the Kirner-Johnson Building. This week, Enquiry published a front-page article regarding the subject of “radical feminism,” which received backlash on social media.
An anonymous source within the College administration informed The Spectator that students had filed a report with Campus Safety, alleging that students involved with The Woymn’s Center were responsible. Director of Campus Safety Fran Manfredo confirmed the investigation, but declined to comment on specifics. “The complainant believes students from a certain organization may be involved and we are investigating,” he said. Although Hamilton does not have specific rules regarding the destruction of student publications, it does expressly promote the freedom of expression.
Recently, Enquiry has come under fire for an article regarding the Charlie Hebdo attacks and so-called Islamic extremism. There is no evidence at the moment though that the removal of the publication was in any way connected to this article. Enquiry Editor-in-Chief Joe Simonson ’15 said, “I’m definitely deeply disturbed by these actions from my fellow community members. Once again, it becomes apparent that parts of this school are divided into two camps: those who wish to express themselves freely and those who wish to silence any attempts at intellectual diversity.”
Manfredo expressed that “no one is being blamed,” rather an investigation is on-going. Campus Safety will seek to determine who was responsible for the removal of the publication. In this process, they will interview the complainant, witness or anybody else that might have information. Sources have said that the Womyn’s Center, or members of the organization, have confessed to the act. An email to the Womyn’s Center and members of its executive board went unreturned.
While there is no law specifically protecting the distribution of free newspapers or other publications, the College does encourage a free environment for its publications. A case at the University of Minnesota-Morris in April of 2014 in which an independent student publication was removed did not result in action from the university administration.
Campus Safety will pursue the investigation, but following their results, they will turn the issue over to the College. Manfredo did not comment on what resolution the complainant or the School is seeking.