Censorship of Washburn homecoming shirts ‘Hucked’ up

Chris Marshall

Christopher A. Smith / Campus Editor

Our university just beat Emporia State in football, collected more cans for the second year in a row and is getting ready to “can” them two more times this week in soccer and volleyball.

When Hornet fans ask, “What’s an Ichabod?” all you have to do is point to the scoreboard.

At the same time, Washburn fans want to show their support for the school, and their hatred for ESU in every way possible.

As any broke college student will tell you, the best way to do this is to give out free shirts. Not only do they send messages to opposing fans, they also instill a sense of pride and, most importantly, boost attendance at games.

Unfortunately, the release of this year’s “Huck the Fornets” was postponed until after Saturday’s homecoming game because they were deemed inappropriate and a bad represenation of WU.

While the concern is understandable, it is up to individuals to decide what they wear, and to say otherwise is a violation of the students’ first amendment rights.

To my knowledge, the words “huck” and “fornets” are not trademarked. There is no “W” on the shirt that steals anybody’s copyright.

Keeping the shirts boxed up may be the best way for the school to play it safe in a time when decisions are questioned more than ever, but it should be up to us to decide whether we wear anti-Emporia shirts.

If the letters on the shirt were switched, and the words started with an “F” and “H” rather than the other way around, I would not wear or support the shirts.

However, that is not the case and the worst punishment that can be issued in this situation are dirty looks and calls into the office.

Maybe I’m in the minority, but it will take more than a slap on the hand for me to stop putting on free shirts. I’ll be wearing it all day today; not because I want to stir up trouble, but because I’m proud of how our university dominates Emporia on and off the field.

Two weeks ago, the University of Virginia, a school founded by Thomas Jefferson, issued a ban on making signs at football games because fans were being too critical.

The following Saturday, every student in attendance held a blank piece of paper in protest. It was a silent, yet effective way of sticking it to the man.

You better believe that ban was lifted before the next home game.

WU students are faced with a similar situation now, and will see similar results if enough people show they care.

As college students, we are in the perfect position to make our voices heard.

A few years from now, many of us will be forced to wear ties and dresses, working 9 to 5 and not putting on any kind of T-shirts at all.

So why not take a stand while we still have the chance?

At 7 p.m. Friday, No. 11 WU hosts No. 8 ESU in Lee Arena. It’s our duty to make shirts, signs, chants or whatever we can think of, and be in the stands to remind Emporia how we feel about their second-rate university.