Robot 6

College declines student’s request to ban ‘Persepolis,’ ‘Sandman’

persepolisFollowing a student’s protest over the contents of the graphic novels required by her English 250 class, Crafton Hills College President Cheryl A. Marshall has issued a statement saying the college will not ban any books or alter the content of the course.

I support the college’s policy on academic freedom which requires an open learning environment at the college.  Students have the opportunity to study controversial issues and arrive at their own conclusions and faculty are to support the student’s right to freedom of inquiry.  We want students to learn and grow from their college experiences; sometimes this involves reaffirming one’s values while other times beliefs and perspectives change.  In this specific case, the syllabus distributed on the first day of class contained the list of required reading materials allowing students the opportunity to research the books and make a choice about the class.  The class is one of numerous electives available for completion of the English degree.  We are attempting to avoid this situation in the future and Professor Bartlett has agreed to include a disclaimer on the syllabus in the future so students have a better understanding of the course content.  I know he appreciated the differing views presented by Ms. Shultz in his class.

The controversy arose when Tara Shultz, a 20-year-old attending Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, California, was dismayed by the graphic content in four of the graphic novels required by her English 250 course; she and her parents are seeking to have them banned by the administration. Shultz challenged four titles in particular due to the depictions of sex, violence and “obscenities”: Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis,” Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home,” the first volume of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s “Y: The Last Man” and Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg & Co.’s “The Sandman: The Doll’s House.”

The course, which has been taught by associate professor Ryan Bartlett for three semesters with no previous complaints, is described as “the study of the graphic novel as a viable medium of literature through readings, in-class discussion and analytical assignments.” Bartlett will now include a disclaimer in his course description.



Next time someone complains about liberals trying to stifle free speech, I’ll remind them of this.

Beetlejuice, did that utterly cringe-worthy last sentence of “let’s try to spinelessly appease everyone with blatant lies” really have to make it into this statement? He appreciated those differing views presented by that ignorant prude (and her parents), my ass. Damning enough that he now has to put warning labels of “does include non-conservative content” for a university course to protect the poor, weak hearts of wannabe censors.


June 15, 2015 at 6:54 pm

Why is Comic books a college course in the first place?

@boothtechjosh Why should they not be? It’s a medium that has made billions worldwide and won numerous awards, including pulitzers. The question should be, Why aren’t there more college classes about comics?

Pretty well summed up by the synopsis – “the study of the graphic novel as a viable medium of literature…”

Why is comic books a college course? Me not know them seem for kids.

Good! Long live comics!

@IanC: Just because some Liberals support free speech, that doesn’t mean all Liberals support free speech. Case in point: UC Chancellor Janet Napalitano, former head of the US Dept. of Homeland Security, just issued guidelines for UC professors on what language to avoid, including banning the phrase “America is the land of opportunity”, as a form of avoiding “microaggressions” (whatever that is suppose to mean):

Sadly, it was UC Berkeley that ignited the free speech movement in the the 1960s. My, how times have changed, as PC-ism continues to run a muck at our institutions of higher learning…

But, other than that, I am glad that this silliness was dismissed. For one, the course in question was an elective, which the student could have withdrawn from, and, for another, it turns out that this student has political ambitions, most likely a Republican neophyte in the making. I had previously felt sorry for her, but after reading more about her background, I take it back. This entire issue was a con-job, and, for that, I hope she gets everything that she deserves in this life. I don’t like being manipulated, and that’s what she and her parents were doing, when they had they protest. Ugh.

re: boothtechjosh, Why would comics be a college course? For the same reason movie studies, book studies, music studies, etc. would be a comics course. Comics, like any other media, are a medium to tell stories, to express oneself and your view of the world around you.

You can do that with Fantastic Four, or with Maus. Batman, or Barefoot Gen. Wonder Woman, or Persepolis. The superhero titles are not as narrowly focused as the other works I cite (Art Spiegelman, Nakazawa Keiji and Marjane Satrapi instead of the group effort that typifies most superhero books), but if you look at the comics over the last 80 years they are all a product of the world they were produced in,

And you can learn a lot about the culture that spawned them, and the time frame upon they were produced.

That is why there are college courses on comics,

“… would be a comics course.”

Didn’t mean to add “comics” there.

“dswine” (sic) (on purpose) I’m sure you realize the “Daily Caller” is a website intended only for brainless radical right-wingnuts. And now, everyone here knows.

@IanC and @dswynne: Censorship isn’t a partisan issue, much as partisans would like it to be. Fredric Wertham was a liberal; Joe McCarthy was a conservative. Tipper Gore is a liberal; Phyllis Schlafly is a conservative. Democrat Leland Yee sponsored California’s bill banning the sale of violent video games to minors; Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger signed it; it was overturned by 3 conservatives and two liberals on the Supreme Court (while one of each dissented).

You’ll find people from both parties falling on both sides of the censorship divide.

@Axel: Maybe so, but you can be a liberal and still not like Janet Napolitano very much. I’m from Arizona, I voted for her, and I will never forgive her for leaving halfway through her term knowing that Brewer would assume her office. The passage of SB1070 into law is a direct result of Napolitano accepting a position in Obama’s cabinet.

I think it’s pretty funny that she’s the best example of a liberal dswynne could come up with, though. How liberal can you be if you got elected to two terms as Governor of Arizona?

“…We are attempting to avoid this situation in the future and Professor Bartlett has agreed to include a disclaimer on the syllabus in the future so students have a better understanding of the course content…”

something like this :

‘WARNING ; study material may contain adult situations’

Wonder how many other courses will get the same disclaimer ?

Comic Books and Graphic Novels have been taught in colleges for decades. One of my courses in the early 90s included Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics.”

Good resolution to this election-year ‘conflict’… but bravo for Schultz to now paint herself as a VICTIM of those mean old (Community) College elites advancing values and ethos with those not- Batman and Robin comic books. Pretty sure she or her parents will have ample coverage in the media.

And people to flock to her in support in THEEZ KULTUR WARZ.

It’s funny to see the more-Conservative comicbook fans distance themselves from this throwback of ’90s politicism. They’re left with making Schultz one of those Leftist of their nightmares… when simple fact-checking of her comments would better align with THEIR beliefs. (Shultz’s opinions on certain graphic novels aside.)

So, “that doesn’t mean all Liberals are for Free Speech”, eh? If a blanket statement like that can be made in the comments, I’d like to play too: The events prove that doesn’t mean ALL NeoCons like Schultz (or her parents) are reactionary and pro-bookbanning as they seem to be.

Just SOME of them are.

Glad to see that the college didn’t give in to Tara Shultz’s(and her parents’) censorship crusade,for she’ll probably get a lawyer to sue the campus.

What sort of collage has to put a warning that their courses contain “ADULT MATERIAL”?, it is really pathetic and primitive. If I was a student in that school I would feel that my intelligence is being insulted.

THE SANDMAN, 75 episode comic strip of the late 90’s, story of Morpheous….’. The Dolls House , by Neil Bauman, Dringenberg…yes, I remember, truly one of the most disturbing storylines I have evr read, a far cry from shavIng was accustomed to, bat man, superman, justice League…..

I liked the way the college handled this. “Trigger warnings” have become more preeminent in lit courses, and I have no problem with them. It’s respectful to anyone who could be offended. Let them believe what they want to believe. Everyone is entitled to a choice.

The whole issue was just an exercise in attention-seeking by an overly entitled, immature little twit. I doubt she had any deep convictions, except that she thought that she could get some attention as a crusader, to add to her resume as a wanna-be politician.

I still think the college should have included, “Welcome to the adult world. You chose to take the course without checking it out first. Hope you learn from your mistake. Now suck it up and act like an adult!”

Hopefully the disclaimer won’t refer to the dirty stuff in the books but will be more along the lines of “We’re not covering Batman and Robin, dummy.”

This isn’t a political, or religious matter. This is a college student, an English major none the less, who is offended by the graphical and sexual content in the graphic novels. This is an example of pure stupidity.

First off, she was given the names of each graphic novel that they will be reading that semester. Whenever I get that list, it thoroughly look at what each book is about. She should have done the same. And because she didn’t, that shows that she probably thought this class would be an easy A and wasn’t going to take it too seriously.

Next, Shultz has probably been very very very out of touch with the comics industry. If she was expecting to read comics that are similar to what she wanted, she probably never should have picked up the course. Also, that brand of campy, happy go luckiness that she was expecting hasn’t been around for 30-40 years. This is an example of the whole ‘comics are for children” mentality. No they are not. They are ABSOLUTELY NOT. For those that think that, I want them ti read through the latest series of Batman, Superman, Wonderwoman, Hellblazer and so many other comics. These are hardly meant for kids.

Most of the time the people who want to ban books are religious nuts who freak out whenever their dogmatic world-view is challenged. And then claim they are being persecuted if their outrageous demands are not met. It doesn’t matter which religion they belong to. Most religions have at least a few of these kinds of crazies. And I’d wager that this person protesting is from a family of those kinds of religious nuts.

Just for edification: run a muck is actually run amok
none the less is nonetheless

Not trying to be a grammar nazi, but it helps get the point across in your argument if you use the correct phrasing.

At any rate, this is the legacy of PC gone too far mixed with a petulant child who obviously had no idea of what the course entailed, and that’s on her. When she didn’t get what she wanted she protests, that’s again on her. The biggest problem I have is that a supposed adult student who clearly signed up for the “comic book class” because it would be easy had to get mom and dad to prop her up. Because that is what grown-ups do, right? When they don’t get their way they tell their parents. Take an F or an incomplete, and move on. One bad grade is not going to diminish all the other credited courses you’ll take. She did do an excellent job of showing the world what a spoiled crybaby looks like in case anyone needed a reminder.

And something similar is unfolding at Duke University with Fun Home. Sad to see that people can be so close-minded.

Neon Sequitur

June 16, 2015 at 1:51 pm

If Miss Schultz signed up for a college class on graphic novels expecting to read “Archie and Jughead”, she probably doesn’t belong in college.

And if she thinks censoring everyone else’s reading lists is the solution to all her problems with the course material, she *definitely* doesn’t belong there.

Imagine if Shakespeare and Michelangelo teamed up and produced an illustrated story. Worth studying? Damn straight. So it is with today’s graphic novels.

We had Persepolis for a reading assignment in my high school World Lit class, and there were no complaints. In fact, everyone loved it because it was a graphic novel! Keep an open mind.

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