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Not A Threat

The answer to bad speech is more good speech, not censorship

As an unabashed defender of the First Amendment I bristle at even the hint of government intrusion into the marketplace of free ideas, even when those ideas are upsetting or obnoxious.

Speech that makes you comfortable is not what needs protection.  And it would be impossible for firebrands like me to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" when my speech is regulated by boorish bureaucrats.

So when more than a few people sent me the link about UMass having a "threat meter" for  costumes which would pretty much lead to a bland Halloween -- and I always look forward to scantily clad young women dressed up as Indians, err, Native American  -- I took notice.

But I also remembered UMass allowed the nitwit Westboro Baptist Church to freely demonstrated their bigotry on campus a few years ago.  So I was also a tad skeptical of this latest brew ha ha -- especially when Campus Reform said they ran with it prior to a UMass spokesperson responding.

My favorite UMass spokesperson, however, did respond.

From: Larry Kelley
Sent: Friday, October 21, 2016 8:48 AM
Subject: Halloween
To: Nancy Buffone

Hey Nancy,

So I'm always a tad skeptical when these stories first break wondering if perhaps they belong on Snopes.

Is this a University wide program?  (I'm surprised there's no mention of clown outfits.)

Is the University taking any special measures for Halloween weekend like limiting guests, parking, etc?



From: Nancy Buffone
To: Larry Kelley
Sent: Fri, Oct 21, 2016 10:45 am
Subject: Re: Halloween


The campus has been planning for Halloween and has communicated guest restrictions on the residential halls to our studends. There is information on line at:

As far as the posters go, here's a statement from the News Office:

University of Massachusetts Amherst statement on Halloween costumes
As part of the university’s continuing efforts to foster an inclusive and supportive living environment for all students, resident assistants at UMass Amherst this month created bulletin boards communicating those values and explaining how some Halloween costumes may be offensive to others. The guidelines used to create the bulletin boards are intended to educate students about cultural appropriation and help them make informed choices about costumes. UMass Amherst does not prohibit or ban any costumes.
In one residence hall, a “threat level flow chart” for choosing a Halloween costume was posted on a bulletin board. It is not part of the recommended educational materials that RAs were advised to display, but rather was downloaded from the Internet and was posted by a well-intentioned student staff member. The chart has been removed from the bulletin board.


Nancy Buffone
Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations

This post first appeared on Only In The Republic Of Amherst, please read the originial post: here

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Not A Threat


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