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Think Twice About Tenuring MacKinnon



It never ceases to amaze me how some people can bombast about the evils of bigotry at one moment while breathing forth their own form of prejudice in the next. A prime example of such hypocritical bigotry was the Law School Coalition for Civil Rights (CCR) rally on Friday, February 26 in support of granting tenure to University of Michigan law professor Catharine MacKinnon, a longtime advocate of state-enforced censorship and sex discrimination.

MacKinnon's published writings reflect a venomous hatred for men as a class, stereotyping all men as rapists, and display contempt for heterosexuals in general. Wild animadversions such as "marital sex is sexual harassment is rape" and "heterosexuality is the eroticization of dominance and submission" full her speech and writings. (Ironically, MacKinnon herself recently married a feminist man, demonstrating that even she doesn't believe her absurd claims about marriage being rape.) MacKinnon asserts that nearly all heterosexual sex is rape, questioning even "whether consent is a meaningful concept." MacKinnon believes that sex constitutes rape if a woman who consented to sex subsequently regrets her choice, stating that "I call it rape when a women has sex and feels violated." Writing in the New York Times ("The Palm Beach Hanging." December 15, 1991), MacKinnon claimed that all men "are sexually trained to woman-hating aggression."

MacKinnon has a long and sordid record of attacking free speech. In 1983, she authored a Minneapolis ordinance, soon declared unconstitutional, that outlawed most sexually suggestive art and literature depicting women under the guise of fighting pornography. Under this ordinance, she and her longtime collaborator, Andrea Dworkin, who believes that all heterosexual sex is rape, advocated banning from the City of Minneapolis French and Indian art films, avant garde art, and even Rolling Stones album advertisements. MacKinnon has spent years lobbying for the enactment of similarly repressive ordinances in numerous other cities and states, including Massachusetts.

As ugly and divisive as MacKinnon's sentiments are, she has a right to free speech. But her hatemongering should not win her tenure at Harvard, nor should it take the place of balanced scholarship as a required academic credential. For CCR, which claims to champion civil rights, to endorse her candidacy reflects utter hypocrisy. No civil right is more important than free speech, and few are more precious than the equal protection of the law. Only Orwellian doublespeak can justify granting a bigoted censor tenure under the guise of promoting civil rights. Who will CCR support for tenure next? Leonard Jeffries? Hans Bader   Second-Year Law Student

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