Entire Audience at Slur-Laden Ole Miss ‘Laramie Project’ Performance Told to Attend LGBT Dialogue Session

Laramie Project

This is why we can't have nice things.

On Thursday we reported that a group of University of Mississippi students decided to disrupt a performance of "The Laramie Project" with mocking laughter and gay slurs. Since no one specific troublemaker or set of troublemakers could be identified, everyone has to suffer the penalties.

The school's Bias Incident Response Team reports that nobody gave names or accused specific students of misbehaving during "The Laramie Project" […] [E]very student in the Oct. 1 audience will have to attend an "educational dialogue session" led by faculty and Allies.

While it was suspected that the disruption was led by a group of about 20 football players, no evidence has surfaced to prove the claim. The darkness of the theater made it difficult to identify individuals, and variations in the claims of volume and frequency of the disruptions has further muddied the waters.

Comments

  1. Yeek says

    Smart move. Ever since the Duke Lacrosse thing, people are a little more wary of immediately assuming that athletes are always as bad as the stereotype. To accuse someone of something extremely awful should require extremely good evidence, and it sounds like it just isn’t there. Making everyone attend is the way to go.

  2. Leroy Laflamme says

    ‘…nobody gave names or accused specific students of misbehaving…’ Nobody? Really? Cowards. I read somewhere that some footballers claimed they didn’t know why they should apologize. I’m curious to see how the “educational dialogue session” goes down. I wonder if the press will be allowed to attend. Btw, ‘This is why we can’t have nice things’ made me smile. Sad, but funny.

  3. Terry says

    How can you re-educate those who can not be educated in the first place? Of course there was not going to be any punishment, they’re football players. Ole Miss is a joke school, a backup for those who can’t get into community college.

  4. Hagatha says

    Smart move. Ever since the Duke Lacrosse thing, ….

    POSTED BY: YEEK

    You have to understand that the academics don’t believe that the lacrosse players were actually innocent. In liberal academia, one is required to believe that an accusation is sufficient as long as it’s against a white male or group of white males.

  5. Ed P. says

    Terry, that is a freaking lie and you know it! Mississippi has 13 junior colleges loaded with students who are unable to get in to this school. Ole Miss has produce more Rhodes Scholars, if you even know what that is, than the University of Notre Dame and the same number as the University of Michigan. It is a school offering Phi Beta Kappa membership to top graduates, again if you know what that means. Degrading and immature comments such as yours only show your lack of intelligence and, yes, bigotry!

  6. Ryan says

    Terrible. Punish everyone for the actions of a few. Most of the people there are already allies; why else would they be attending the play? Now they’re going to be subjected to some dull lecture which will change nobody’s mind if they’re homophobic, anyway? It’s clear the school thought they had to do something, so this garbage is it.

  7. Michael says

    For once it would be nice if those who had anti-gay views would grow a pair and not scurry for the nearest shadow whenever they’re called out on their beliefs.

  8. Mike Ryan says

    How do they know who attended the performance? There is no mention of a roster of attendees so you can easily believe that 70%, if not more, will say they were never there.

    The entire university student body should be required to attend an “educational dialogue session” led by faculty and Allies. Not just a handful, not just a few, but punish the entire student body.

    The acts should never happen again.

  9. Mike Ryan says

    @Ryan -“Terrible. Punish everyone for the actions of a few…” Yes, unless those so called ‘allies’ want to step forward and identify those who caused the bigoted disruption. Listen, we ALL have a responsibility here – allies and non-allies and if you’re gay and you were there in support of the play then open your GD mouth and name those who disrupted and defamed the play. If you can’t or won’t do that then expect to attend an educational dialogue session of your responsibility as a citizen and attendee of University Miss.

  10. Secret Identity says

    When I was pretty young I was in Mississippi working on a project way back in 1988. I was surprised that most of the people I spoke with wanted to know what I thought of Mississippi. I’d tell them I only just arrived so have no idea. They meant what had I heard about Mississippi, or what did my friends and I discuss when we talked about Mississippi or the south in general. I told them my friends and I spoke about Mississippi about as much as we talked about North Dakota….and that wasn’t very much. THey were convinced that everyone outside of the south viewed them as ignorant, racist people who hadn’t progressed much since the 60s. And you know what? I found they were right. While a good portion of the people were wonderful, there was a pervasive attitude that blacks and whites just don’t mix and I won’t even get into the why’s of their thinking. Here it is 25 years later…TWENTY-FIVE FREAKING YEARS LATER and you know what? I’m so sorry to say, maybe a lot of them are ignorant, racisit people who havne’t grown much since the 60s.

  11. Kevin says

    I was going to reply to Terry, but Ed. P. did a pretty good job. Since I work here, attend school here, and am openly gay I can help clarify a few things. First of all, the cast asked that those involved not be punished, but educated. Secondly to purchase a ticket, they get your email address and student ID if a student, so there is a list of students who attended. Lastly, I am one of the co-leaders of the Allies program and will most likely be involved in the educational dialogue session. We have some very good people on campus who are trained to lead dialogue session on this and other topics.

    Getting back to Terry, the point of a university is to educate.

  12. Bill says

    @Kevin: the problem with this approach is that decent people will simply not go to performances if they think they will end up having to waste time in some “educational dialog session” as the session might end up being held the evening before an important exam. Why take the risk?

  13. woody says

    part of the problem with places like ole miss is the pervasiveness of proselytizing christian groups on campus. they provide moral cover for this nonsense with christian right groupthink. ole miss needs some atheist push back.

  14. jonvincent says

    It seems obvious that the 25 football tools were doing this. To get group name calling and mock laughter happening, there has to be a unified group in the audience (a unified group of freshman footballers). I think we all know that these guys were NOT going to attend this play on their own and be excited about it. Enough evidence to suspend them.

  15. Tony says

    It’s a PR stunt…pure and simple.
    A way to be able to say we’re doing something about this, while not actually doing anything worthwhile.

    A waste of everyone’s time.

  16. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    What I question; …How does the University’s administration have the compelling-authority to issue such as diktat? “Do this or you’re expelled?”

    I’m puzzled….

  17. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    What I question; …How does the University’s administration have the compelling-authority to issue such as diktat? “Do this or you’re expelled?”

    I’m puzzled….

  18. Strepsi says

    @ JAY, DEAN, and TED B, if you are indeed 3 trolls and not just one: the school has an anti-bias policy. Imagine a performance of “Raisin in the Sun” and a group of students mocking and yelling “ni**er” at the cast. Zero tolerance for intolerance.

  19. m says

    I doubt the forced education will do anything to get inside the heads of the idiots who couldn’t help shouting slurs during the show. You might expect this sh*t from High School freshmen, who aren’t mature enough yet. By the time you hit 18 you know what you’re doing.

  20. Liam Sauer-Wooden says

    Typical narrow-minded hateful attitude of the Deep South. Maybe being forced to attend a dialogue probably won’t help but at least it’s SOMETHING rather than rolling over and saying “People here are that way.”

  21. ratbastard says

    So how are we now not to suppose perhaps some LGBTABCDXYZ “advocates” didn’t do it in order to “create a dialog”? Similar to when a student claims someone wrote “hateful” graffiti on their dorm room door, or claims they were assaulted in a (fill in the blank) motivated attack? It’s become so commonplace for these incidents to have been faked that they’re essentially a running joke.

  22. Bill says

    @Strepsi: the issue is whether you should punish the innocent to make sure you don’t miss the guilty. Didn’t we kind of decide that issue when the U.S. Constitution was written? Collective
    punishments are not consistent with American values.

  23. oncemorewithfeeling says

    The comments against this perfectly reasonable solution are, sadly, what you would expect from the Towleroad Trolls: absurd, idiotic, and hysterical. It’s clear that some of them have never stepped foot on a college campus (with the possible exception of the men’s rooms), as they don’t even have a clue about how higher education works.

    Good for the University for doing its job: teaching.

    If students there aren’t interested in learning, they can save a lot of time and money by dropping out. If they know that behaving like a lynch mob will result in all the fun being taken out of it, then they won’t behave like a lynch mob and normal people can attend the school’s theatre in peace. Meanwhile, the normal people who attended this performance get to attend a bonus educational experience where, if nothing else, they can watch bigots squirm.

    This is the one solution in which everybody wins, except those that refuse to learn from it, and at least they’ll have their evening ruined in return for ruining the evening of others. Meanwhile, the bigots began a dialogue that will only benefit the school overall. Whoever thought of this is a genius.

  24. Tony C says

    This is absurd..even as disturbing as that person(s) in Laramie that are still sticking up for the guys that did this murder….I guess they also don’t believe in our judicial system..take a picture of the fence that Mathew was tied up to and bring that to the after “discussion” & get better helmets for this team…those concussions can take days/weeks to kick in..I love this country we live in :-

  25. Francis #1 says

    I think this is a wonderful idea and the best response in this situation…to teach. To educate. Will it cause some people to rethink things? Perhaps so, perhaps not. Generally on this issue, it takes a personal individual awakening, but a dialogue session can’t be anything but productive.

  26. Francis #1 says

    I will say, I don’t think it’s going to work on many in terms of changing minds because they’re being forced to go and they’re being punished, essentially. I bet people will blame each other for being forced to attend this session. At least Ole Miss is taking some action.

  27. Mark Austin says

    It’s too bad IP addresses aren’t posed along with the “name”. Based on what has been said, grammar, and the general tone, I’d bet some good money about half of the anti-discussion posts are from the same rabid homophobe, with different “names”.

  28. John says

    Kevin, thank you for making the point that I wanted to make…”the point of a university is to educate”. But, being right there, you obviously know more than I do about this incident. I wish you all the best in your educational dialogue session. Kudos to you! I hope that Andy posts a follow-up.

  29. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “Typical narrow-minded hateful attitude of the Deep South.”

    Liam, could you please google “Justice Hugo Black”.

    Not everybody Down South is….whatever (weary sigh)

  30. Bill says

    @oncemorewithfeeling: unfortunately, the people you call “normal people” (those who would not disrupt a performance) will end up wasting their time when they could be studying the material they paid their tuition to learn.

    Don’t forget that some people take a lot of courses, or have particularly difficult ones, and have very little spare time.

  31. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    “@ JAY, DEAN, and TED B, if you are indeed 3 trolls and not just one: the school has an anti-bias policy. Imagine a performance of “Raisin in the Sun” and a group of students mocking and yelling “ni**er” at the cast. Zero tolerance for intolerance”

    For all I care, they can expel the entire football team. My libertarian concern is the collective-punishment of the ENTIRE audience regardless of their behavior. No doubt there were gay students in the audience as well…and they get punished y theis “compulsory attendance” as-well? And it will be on their academic-record.

  32. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    “@ JAY, DEAN, and TED B, if you are indeed 3 trolls and not just one: the school has an anti-bias policy. Imagine a performance of “Raisin in the Sun” and a group of students mocking and yelling “ni**er” at the cast. Zero tolerance for intolerance”

    For all I care, they can expel the entire football team. My libertarian concern is the collective-punishment of the ENTIRE audience regardless of their behavior. No doubt there were gay students in the audience as well…and they get punished y theis “compulsory attendance” as-well? And it will be on their academic-record.

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