Crafton Hills College Student and Parents Protest Graphic Novels (Updated)

PersepolisMaybe Seinfeld and Chris Rock are on to something about PC culture and college campus. A Crafton Hills College student, along with her parents, have lodged a complaint about graphic novels taught in an English course describing them as “pornographic and violent.” The works in question “depict nudity, sex, violence and torture. They also contain obscenities.”

20 year old Tara Shultz was joined by her parents and friends on Thursday on a protest over the material. The four books Shultz and her parents found offensive were Fun Home by Alison Bechdel; Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1 by Brian Vaughan; The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman; and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Many of these books are about tolerance and the free flow of ideas.

Instead of the above which are generally accepted as pretty important literary works, Shultz was expecting Batman and Robin. It should be noted Persepolis was one of the most banned books of 2014. Fun Home is also coming off of numerous Tony Award wins including “Best Musical” for its musical adaptation currently on Broadway. It too has been at the center of numerous banning attempts, but it was also chosen as a required reading choice for Duke University’s incoming class.

Going off her Facebook profile Shultz mostly enjoys the Bible, Star Wars, Star Trek, Disney films, and the Twilight series (interesting due to its questionable views when it comes to gender). Most of the entertainment listed is barely PG let alone PG-13. Most is G rated.

The English 250 course was described as:

Study of fiction as a literary genre through readings, in-class discussion, and analytical assignments. Emphasis will be on a particular type of fiction.

There is a link to the school store and a list of books for the course. It’s unknown if the course book list was available before the course began. The course was taught the previous semester and third time the course has been taught. There has not been a previous complaint and the course having previously been held provided opportunity to find out more. There are a total of ten books for the course.

Associate English Professor Ryan Bartlett said in an interview:

I chose several highly acclaimed, award-winning graphic novels in my English 250 course not because they are purportedly racy but because each speaks to the struggles of the human condition. As Faulkner states, ‘The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.’ The same may be said about reading literature. The characters in the chosen graphic novels are all struggling with issues of morality, self discovery, heart break, etc. The course in question has also been supported by the faculty, administration and approved by the board.

fun home coverShultz had said “at most I would like the books eradicated from the system. I don’t want them taught anymore. I don’t want anyone else to have to read this garbage.”

She remained in the course after approaching the professor about the curriculum to not receive a zero. It’s unknown when she did so. This claim is also odd as many professors I spoke to said that students could drop a course well into it with only a financial hit.

Tara’s father Greg Shultz said:

If they (had) put a disclaimer on this, we wouldn’t have taken the course.

It’s interesting he used the word “we.”

College administrators are looking into the complaint and the books being sold in the bookstore where there are “under-aged kids here at this campus.”

This comes after numerous op-eds from College Professors about the PC nature on campus and fear to use some texts or express some opinions due to this sort of reaction.

Update: The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund points out “the school requires instructors (p. 20) to distribute a detailed syllabus on the first day of the term–and ample time to withdraw with no effect on her grade. Fourteen other courses offered at Crafton Hills fulfill the same degree requirement as English 250. The college’s online calendar shows that the Spring semester began on January 12, and the last date to drop a course with no grade penalty was January 30. Shultz apparently brought up her objections to four out of ten books covered in the class after that date, when her only options were to complete the assigned work or withdraw with a 0.”

(via Redlands Daily Facts)