Grave Error:

[Carnegie Mellon Sudent Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Alex] Meseguer has fired cartoonist Bob Rost, who drew [a] strip in which a goat uses a racial slur to brag to a mouse that he had hit a black person on a bike. Meseguer said he and Managing Editor Jim Puls, who signed off on that page, are considering resigning. All are white.

The April Fool's Day edition of The Tartan also includes graphic depictions of female genitalia, as well as poems about raping a teacher and mutilating a woman with an ice skate.

Meseguer explained to the crowd yesterday that the racial slur had been allowed into print accidentally because fatigue had impaired the editors' judgment. He promised he was taking measures to prevent anything similar from happening again.

But the demands of the campus community, black students said, go beyond an apology or even Meseguer's resignation. They want to reform the stigma and ignorance on campus that once prompted a student to ask Tommy Taylor, an African-American senior majoring in electrical and computer engineering and public policy, whether he could properly pronounce the word "ask."

[...]To review the accuracy, relevancy and effect on the campus of future editions of The Tartan, Meseguer and the administration plan a content review board that includes Dean of Student Affairs Michael Murphy, journalism professor Thomas O'Boyle, Vice Provost for Education Indira Nair and Gloria Hill, director of the Carnegie Mellon Action Project, a support service for African-American, Native American and Hispanic students.

The Tartan also will appoint an ethics manager to oversee general operating procedures and to act as an ombudsman, or representative to the community, Meseguer said."

I find it hard to comment on this story.The cartoon doesn't sound very funny to me, though I'll never see it. It seems to me there are some misplaced priorities and hypersensitivities inflating to distortion a case of run-of-the-mill poor judgment. The proposed "content review board" and "ethics manager" sound like an absurdly heavy-handed reactionary intervention. And is nobody upset about the teacher-raping and mutilating-women-with-ice-skates poems? It's just the n-word?

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