Administrators at McMaster University in Canada have banned a book that some people have deemed offensive.

Even worse, the school has suspended students just for reading it.

Adam Kissel of the Panam Post reports.

Canada: Students Cheer as University Violates Free Speech

McMaster University administrators in Canada have effectively banned a book they find immoral, and many students support the school’s oppressive decision.

“When we discovered this book and saw its contents,” admitted David Wilkinson, McMaster’s academic provost and vice president, “we took immediate and swift action to indicate a book with this kind of content in it is unacceptable.”

The book — which contains approximately 25 cheers that touch controversial topics such as rape and murder — is part of a long cultural tradition of rhymes with bawdy content. People enjoy singing about taboo subjects, mostly because they know the subjects are taboo. In other words, their participation in reading the book generally involves agreeing with the taboo themes, and disagreeing with a direct interpretation of the text. To read or sing such a book with others is a cultural bonding experience, encompassing their societal values.

But the university does not understand this. Instead, it has suspended students who have read the book, most of which are members of a group called the Redsuits. McMaster has also reprimanded the McMaster Engineering Society, the much larger body of which the Redsuits are a part.

The decision to suspend the group is not only inconsistent with free speech principles, but it shows that the university — as well as the students who support the book ban — is intolerant, exclusive, insensitive, ethnocentric, anti-intellectual, oppressive, moralistic, and power hungry.

They are intolerant and oppressive by condemning what they don’t approve of. They tolerate neither the book, nor the people who read it, and cheer their punishment.

They are exclusive because they preclude anyone who is part of a group that reads the book from fully participating in student life. They are morally exclusive of those who engage in expression they find immoral, singing words they denounce, for example.

They are insensitive, ethnocentric, and anti-intellectual by failing to show any understanding that some people have cultural norms other than their own; many cultures have long held traditions of using bawdy language.