Book burning and banning seems like something of the past – or the stuff of fiction – but one college is taking a big step closer to censorship and banning books that they feel are “offensive”. The charge to ban books has been led not by stuffy school officials or overzealous politicians, but by the students themselves – who feel some books are just too offensive to be allowed to exist on campus.
A recent report by the College Fix reveals that Georgetown University has already removed hundreds of books from libraries on campus. Students say these problematic tomes should be banned – because they contain bigotry. One student, Alexandra Bowman, complained to the school about a single library book – one with an illustration of a Native American on the cover. The action was swift and brutal – and both the Reynold’s and the McCarthy libraries went on a banning and censoring spree.
“While some were simply raucous crime noir murder mysteries representative of the literary and cultural time in which they were written, other books included extremely problematic and damaging elements, including the glamorization of rape, including that of underage girls,” Bowman said in a short comment. “Completely naked women of all races were frequently featured on these books’ covers. Further, many books fetishized young nonwhite women.”
Georgetown seems to have taken a dramatic step towards book banning and censorship based on insights and complaints from one undergrad. The “inquiry” into the library’s collections led to the removal of hundreds of books:
“Upon looking further at the collection of books in the library, we noticed other serialized books, most published in the mid-20th century, with similar pornographic, racially derogatory themes,” Bowman wrote during correspondence with a Georgetown student newspaper. “Ultimately, the removal of the books was what we expected to come as a result of our inquiry.”
While Bowman led the charge against the books and free speech, students at Georgetown were quick to join the cause. The student newspaper, the Georgetown Review, supported the decision to remove the books – a mixed group of publications from the last century. According to the College Fix, Legion, the sequel to the classic horror novel and movie “The Exorcist” was on the list of books that are no longer shelved in libraries on campus.
According to the College Fix and the student papers, the criterion used to dispose of more than 40 nonfiction books and novels was simple — look at the cover and see if you feel offended. If you do, the book needs to go. This basically means that the people in charge of determining which books to censor were making these hefty decisions by looking at the cover alone. Then guessing.
“But upon first encountering the books, we documented nearly forty of the most problematic ones, predicting they would clear the library when questioned. Keep in mind, except for one book (the last in the series pictured at the end of this article—Death of an Informer), the offensive content was surmised from just the books’ front and back covers.”
Was the school’s explanation of how books were chosen to be banned from campus.