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Should pieing be a suspension worthy offence?


 

A student at Brown University in Providence Rhode Island claims she’s been suspended for hitting Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist, with a pie while Friedman was delivering a Earth Day speak at the university.

Clearly, pieing someone is not appropriate behaviour. This is especially true on a university campus where one should be debating issues, not trying to interfere with debate. (Pieing tend to disturb speeches, thereby interfering with debate.)

There should be non-academic consequences for pieing a guest at a university? Yes, there should be. I would suggest an assault charge be laid, the student be restricted from non-academic activities and be shunned by polite company.

The university should not impose academic penalties for a first offence. I view suspension as an academic penalty as it temporarily removes the students from classes.

There is no need to overreact, after all it was only a pie.


 
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Should pieing be a suspension worthy offence?

  1. As we are on the subject of pies…

    There was a group in Québec called “Les entartistes” (www.entartistes.ca)

    They put videos and photos of all the celebrities they pied… They even had a poll where visitors of the site would vote for who should get a pie in the face next.

    They had “pie ethics” – http://www.entartistes.ca/ethique.html – where they explained how to pie someone respectfully (not throwing it violently but gently rubbed against the face), what type of cream to use and what the plate should be.

    They seem to have folded after throwing a pie into Pierre-Karl Péladeau’s face.

  2. “Clearly, pieing someone is not appropriate behaviour. This is especially true on a university campus where one should be debating issues, not trying to interfere with debate. (Pieing tend to disturb speeches, thereby interfering with debate.)”

    I do not believe speeches by renowned speakers, by itself, constitute debate on university campuses. Rehearsed speeches, just as documentaries, are structured in a way to provoke certain emotions and bring support to particular points. They are in this respect the priviledge tools of propaganda. (I find this is somewhat less true of printed media, like newspapers and books, because at least you have time to stop reading and think.)

    Again, it is not that speeches have no use, or that pieing someone making a speech has no consequences. But I believe your caracterization of a speech as “debate” is a large stretch.

  3. The speech is part of the debate. Let’s say Friedman got into his car immediately following the speech, does this end the discussion?

    Bringing a speaker to campus is designed to exposure the academy to the speaker’s thoughts in the hope of generating discussion. By it’s very nature, these discussions become an expression of varying viewpoints.

  4. Thus the emphasis on “by itself” in the first line of my previous post.

    I agree that the ensuing discussions after the speaker has left are more important that the actual speech. This is why I’m not sure all speech disturbances have a measurable “reduction of debate” effect. (Again, there might be other negative effects, but that’s another discussion.) If anything, it could have the opposite effect if media hype ensues. By reading your post I was curious to read what Friedman was talking about, which I wouldn’t have done if he wasn’t pie-ed.

  5. When I was on UMSU Council, I received a pie in the face as part of an engineering society charity fund raising event.

    Here’s the picture for everyone’s enjoyment.

    Joey Coleman gets a pie in the face for charity

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