Clemson Housing Bans “Harambe references” Citing Rape Culture, Racism

Just when you thought college campuses couldn’t get any crazier or that Harambe’s legacy couldn’t get more strange, Clemson bureaucrats have entered the Twilight Zone.

A Clemson Housing Representative is now telling freshman to take down all “Harambe references.” Apparently it adds to Clemson’s notorious “rape culture” and is a form or racism. Of course, it is both sexist and racist to consider a photo or meme of Harambe as sexist or racist.

On Friday, September 23rd, employees acting on behalf of Clemson University Housing and Dining department, sent an email to Resident Assistants (R.A.s) instructing them to inform their freshman to remove all Harambe references from their doors and floor hallways. These must be taken down by September 30th, after which the students may be subject to punishment. One freshman has reported to the Tiger Town Observer that their R.A. told them “you cannot have any Harambe related thing up publicly after September 30th. After that the individual/individuals will get in some trouble!”

It appears the sudden decision for such unilateral action comes in the wake of an alleged mean-spirited Harambe meme that was sent to a freshman. In an email sent to campus RAs, Housing officials stated “If residents are asking why they have to take them down you can share that there was a report from an individual about a meme being offensive and biased in nature and as a result all Harambe references are no longer allowed within our community.”email-2

Graduate Community Director Brooks Artis sent an email attempting to clarify the situation, saying “there have been reports that he (Harambe) and the incident surrounding his death have been used to add to the rape culture as well as being a form of racism.”

This is nothing short of sheer lunacy! Neither email from Clemson Housing officials reveals how a Harambe reference could encourage racist actions or propagate rape, nor do they define what they mean by a “Harambe reference.” Does a photo from the Cincinnati Zoo or a poster from “Planet of the Apes” count as a Harambe reference? What about written and spoken references to “Harambe”?  If a student opens their dorm window and yells “I love Harambe” will they be subject to punishment?  If a student posts a sign that says “Harambe was a racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic gorilla,” will they be subject to punishment?


Demonstrating that she’s not a complete fascist, Brooks adds:  “While we are not banning the word, I want to encourage you to think about what you are saying and how someone who may be a different gender, race, culture, or sexuality than you may take the comment.” What does it mean to say that the House Office is not banning the word Harambe?

But it turns out they are making the expression of word “Harambe” subject to punishment.  As she says:  “My hopes are that you are being inclusive in your words, whichever you choose to say, so that you are not reported to OCES or Title IX for using bias language against someone.”

So, Ms. Artis, please tell us:  What is the PUNISHMENT for speaking or printing the word “HARAMBE”?

In reference to the legality of this policy change and its implementation Brooks refers to the Clemson University Discriminatory Language Policies. Nowhere do these policies grant a Resident Advisor the authority to make these sorts of decisions on behalf of a student or Clemson University. Nor do they suggest that an entire group of students can be required to change a form of their expression because of the actions of one individual. After all, that would be a form of discrimination. Is a reference to a gorilla (even a vile one) so incendiary that it requires unilateral action against Clemson freshman?

I conclude with good news.  Clemson students will not tolerate this kind of censorship.  We will not tolerate fascism. We will not tolerate the cultural imperialism of third-tier bureaucrats.  If one Clemson student is punished for posting a Harambe meme or saying or printing his name, we look forward to seeing you and Clemson University in court.

Three cheers for Harambe!!! Long live Harambe!!!