Moar Ceedurrrs Dramas

A brief history of Cedars, Cedarville University’s student newspaper, circa 2008-2009:

September ’08: We start publishing. A deliberate effort is made to add conservative voices to the Viewpoints section.

October ’08: I write an editorial criticizing Gov. Sarah Palin. Paige Patterson, a CU trustee, is not very amused and tells the board as much. I develop a mancrush on Monsieur Patterson.

November ’08: Obama beats McCain and campus sinks into deep depression over fears of our new-elected, coke-addled Communist dictator.

December ’08: CU gives its Public Relations department, namely Sharyn Kopf, final approval for every issue. Obviously, certain articles then get cut because they do not fit the proper Cedarville image/experience/lifestyle/voice. New school tagline: “An 18-credit Bible minor and suppression of dissent? That’s so Cedarville!”

February ’09: I write an editorial that documents the non-existence of a “liberal agenda” in Cedars. It is seemingly well-received by faculty & staff, but no word from the board.

March ’09: My colleague Sarah Jones publishes an editorial arguing that “modesty panels” are ridiculous and that, per Jesus, the blame for lust lies with the beholder, not the beholden. ENTIRE SCHOOL FLIPS OUT. Straw, meet camel’s back.

April ’09: CU Provost John Gredy, in conjunction with the Board of Trustees, effectively shuts down Cedars and I am laid off work. Remaining issue is canceled; faculty advisor (and U2 guru) Scott Calhoun resigns in protest; Cedars is put on hiatus until at least Spring 2010 and moved from the Lang. & Lit Dept to the Comm. Arts Dept.

When CU’s administration was questioned on its opposition to free speech (in the theoretical, not legal, sense), they replied: “We did it all for the lulz.” Hard to fault them for that.

Update: What was to be my last article for Cedars — before this fiasco came to a head — can be found online here as part one of a four-part series. The series is proof-positive that paying me $7.25/hr was a travesty.

15 thoughts on “Moar Ceedurrrs Dramas

  1. i have a hard time understanding what was so inflammatory about sarah’s article. was it really just the final little thing? i can’t imagine it being a huge deal – if it was, i’m glad i wasn’t there for it.

  2. There’s really no explaining it. It’s not like Sarah was promoting immodesty — she’s a feminist ffs, it’s not like she’d actually advocate that women turn themselves into sex objects. I think it’s just that meaningless outward displays of piety — like modesty panels — become an untouchable sacred cow and the 20% of this campus that realizes they’re ridiculous is expected to just shut up about it.

  3. Modesty panels are probably two or three years old. Not sure.

    Calhoun resigned from Cedars, though I think he is also taking a scheduled (ie, unrelated to Cedars) sabbatical.

  4. no good.
    but seriously, who didn’t think that anything that good would really last at Cedarville?
    Pure journalism? not in a heart-beat.

    as soon as they hear a voice that isn’t their own,
    the know they must stifle it, for what if the world
    is watching, and judging them based off of their school newspaper. They give into the religious terrorism that was commited to keep Shane Clayborne away from Cedarville. These “religious terrorists” just push the weak little Cedarville around. There are good minds at Cedarville, but they are overshadowed by a jumpy, hyper-sensitive collection of individuals in the administration that need to chill out, or leave. This is a COLLEGE, not a day-care center. Let students develop some independent thought.

  5. The modesty panels are a couple years old but as far as I know this is the first all-male modesty panel.

    Kevin’s right, I’m not about to suggest that women turn themselves into sex objects. But I take serious exceptions to “ministries” and events that act as if a woman’s value is totally bound up in either her appearance or her virginity. These groups talk and talk about being different from the world, but the reality is that they’re just promoting the same shallowness that pervades our society.

    For extra lulz, you can read Dannah Gresh’s response to my article on my blog or Facebook. You might lose a couple IQ points trying to get through the incoherent ramble of her letter, but it’s definitely amusing.

  6. I read all this with interest. I graduated from Cedarville years and years ago and wrote for Cedars. I am an agnostic now, and so much of what goes on at CU is ludicrous to me (seriously, how many angels CAN dance on the head of a pin?), but this is interesting.

  7. Well, the cynical answer is that “modesty panels” are where a patriarchal panel reminds an all-female audience what unforgivable sluts they all are with their damnable blue jeans & halter tops.

    Others might describe them as an attempt by women to glean insight into the male psyche in order to “help brothers in Christ not stumble because of our dress.” Or something.

  8. My favorite thing is to hear members of Sanctify Ministries explain to me that because “women run the ministry and organized the event for other women” the panel wasn’t sexist. Because women can’t be sexist, you know.

  9. What’s the non-cynical answer? Is there seriously a panel of guys whose job is to look at women and decide just how aroused each particular state of dress makes them?

    If so… that’s both extremely creepy and hilarious. I can make it creepier… only pick guys who have been demerited for online porn. They’ll have the best judgment on the issue of course.

    I’m now a Sarah Jones fan, I think. Sorry that you folks got an outlet for dissent taken away from you, but hey… it wouldn’t have been taken away if it wasn’t effective.

  10. Sorry for double comments, but I really laughed at…

    “Don’t wear those pajama bottoms to Chucks, girls, because if you do that it makes boys think about bed, and that makes them think about sex.”

    What’s that sound? Is it the institutionalized suppression of sexuality coming back to haunt Christian culture? I’m not sure… I still would have thought that sentence was creepy and pathetic while I was at Cedarville and steeped in that culture.

    I hope women at Cedarville are sensible enough not to give credence to the advice of men so maladjusted that they can’t think of bed without getting aroused. Someday maybe we’ll quit hiding this kind of crap behind false piety and call it out as what it is: not the wiring of the male psyche, but the effects of a culture that gives males (and females) no appropriate outlet for the expression of our sexuality.

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