Duke freshmen forced to read lesbian novel with pornographic images
Some devout freshmen at Duke University have refused to read a book required by the administration about a young girl's journey to lesbianism. The book contains graphic images that are also offensive.
Some members of the Duke University freshman class have refused to read “Fun Home,” a graphic novel depicting a young girl’s emergence as a lesbian accompanied by several sexually explicit drawings. School officials selected the book as required freshman summer reading.
Some Duke students don’t agree with the moral position advanced by the graphic novel’s author, Allison Bechdel.
“Duke did not seem to have people like me in mind,” incoming Duke freshman Brian Grasso told The Chronicle, the school’s student newspaper. “It was like Duke didn’t know I existed, which surprises me.”
Grasso is credited with starting the movement against the required book by utilizing the Duke Class of 2019 Facebook group.
The freshman objected to the book’s support and depiction of homosexual behavior, saying in his Facebook post that he felt he “would have to compromise [his] personal Christian moral beliefs to read it.”
Although he’s been the subject of a social media firestorm and many attacks via private messages on his Facebook page, Grasso told The Daily Caller in an email that he doesn’t regret his refusal, and has since published an opinion article in The Washington Post explaining in detail why he will not read the book.
After his post, other students quickly began showing support for Grasso. They posted similar moral objections to the summer reading requirement.
“I thought to myself, ‘what kind of school am I going to?'” student Elizabeth Snyder-Mounts said in a comment on the Facebook post.
“The nature of ‘Fun Home’ means that content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic nature,” Jeffrey Wubbenhorst, another freshman at Duke, added in an email to The Chronicle.
Bechdel’s graphic novel is focused on her family’s dysfunction. The adult comic book underscores the protagonist’s suicidal father and her own struggle with lesbianism.
“Fun Home” has been popular with college administrators in recent years and has been the center of controversy on campuses previously. At the College of Charleston, for example, officials spent around $39,000 buying up copies of the book to assign to 4,000 or so incoming 2013 freshmen students for required summer reading.
Obviously the goal of administrators is to "broaden" the perspective of freshmen who lived sheltered, politically incorrect lives in suburbia or elsewhere. They must be made to care. Their outlook must be altered, cherished beliefs abandoned, and their religious convictions ignored.
It's hard to come up with a more egregious example of the denial of religious freedom. And I think it significant that the students did not advocate banning the book, but rather only want the freedom to refuse to read it.
Duke officials now say that the summer required reading list is actually not "required."
Sherry Zhang, a member of the book selection committee and co-chair of the first-year advisory counselor board, told The Chronicle that students are not required to read the summer reading assignment.
This is typical behavior by school administrators all across the country, who claim, after a stupid policy or action is publicized, that the policy doesn't say what they originally claimed it said. In this case, they will probably quietly ignore the book and allow students to read it or not read it at their pleasure.