Connecticut University Op-Ed Piece on Rape Draws Protest

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An opinion piece in a college newspaper, described as satire by editors, drew strong protests Thursday from members of the Central Connecticut State University community outraged at its topic — extolling the virtues of rape.

The Feb. 7 article in the Recorder, headlined “Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It,” argues that rape has been a positive force in western civilization and benefits “ugly women.”

About 100 students, some with signs, rallied in protest at the school Thursday and called for the resignation of the article’s writer, John Petroski, and newspaper editor Mark Rowan.

“There are some things that just aren’t funny, and rape is one of them,” student Garry Griffin said. “I mean, what’s next? The Holocaust? Slavery? There’s nothing funny there, I’m sorry.”

An apology was posted on a bulletin outside The Recorder’s office in the school’s student center.

“We didn’t know the campus community as well as we thought we knew, and because of that that’s why we’re getting this backlash and we’re sorry because of it,” Rowan wrote in the apology.

An e-mail was left seeking comment from Petroski.

Jack Miller, the university’s president, issued a statement defending Petroski’s right to freedom of speech, but condemning the article as a “clear violation of responsible journalism and the community standards of this institution.”

“Rape is a profound violation of body and spirit, and to make light of this, even in satire, is abhorrent,” Miller said.

Miller said he will assemble a group of students and faculty to discuss the issue and examine the editorial process.

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