Censorship at Aberystwyth

jason (wipeout@siu.edu)
Sun, 10 Nov 1996 13:31:47 -0600

Dr Perkins,

I recently recieved a copy of a message which expresses the concerns of one
of the students at Aberystwyth University regarding his being censored over
the use of the statement 'sod off.' I'm not sure what kind of university
aberystwyth is, or what principles it embraces, yet a glance at the reality
of the twentieth century shows us that censoring students for profane or
allegedly profane language is not only futile but oppressive.

The contextual gap between you and I regarding the term 'sod' is vast. I
have no idea what connotation the word should have when i hear it. That
should show you how petty this issue is. Language isn't the reality. The
MAP is not the TERRITORY. Words aren't acts in and of themselves which
cause any real damage. Especially a term which Mr. Williams contends has
been polled to have no shock value whatsoever.

Several studies have shown profane language to be the lexicon of the
working class. Censorship or attack on such langauge could only be the
attempts of an elitist class to present a series of iron clad barriers on
language use. Not only is this entirely repugnant on your part, but futile
in its attempt to deter future use. Clearly from this situation, your
efforts weren't worth the time and effort you will now have to endure.
Moreover, your actions were not only to reprimand, or censor the language
use in the aforementioned instance, but to totally censor Mr. Williams'
interaction with the USENET. This is senseless. Why censor someone
completely when an 'indecent' (a qualification you arbitrarily construct)
comment could be reprimanded with a warning or a deletion of the message
from your end of the system? Its obvious that no person outside of your
self contained reality gives a shit. There are simply better ways of
dealing with what you may think is wrong. Dont punish Mr. Williams for his
choice of language.

Evidently the freedom of speech was lost on Wales,

Jason Griffith
Southern Illinois University