- The Washington Times - Monday, August 24, 2015

Some incoming Christian freshmen at Duke University are boycotting a summer reading book, because they say its “graphic” illustrations depicting sex and nudity conflict with their religious beliefs.

Freshman Brian Grasso posted in the Class of 2019 Facebook page July 26 that he would not read Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic,” because of its “graphic visual depictions of sexuality,” the school’s student daily Duke Chronicle reported.

“I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it,” Mr. Grasso wrote in the post, which ignited a debate among students.

Several freshmen agreed with Mr. Grasso about the graphic novel, which chronicles Ms. Bechdel’s relationship with her father and her issues with sexual identity.

Freshman Bianca D’Souza said that while the novel discussed important topics, she did not find the sexual interactions appropriate and could not bring herself to view the images depicting nudity, The Chronicle reported.



Freshman Jeffrey Wubbenhorst took most umbrage with the illustrations.

“The nature of ‘Fun Home’ means that content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic nature,” he wrote in an email.

Mr. Grasso said that many students privately messaged him to thank him for standing up for Christian values, The Chronicle reported.

“There is so much pressure on Duke students, and they want so badly to fit in,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we don’t have to read the book.”

Sherry Zhang, a Duke senior and member of the summer reading book selection committee, said she supports the book choice. She also said that students who refuse to read the book are ultimately free to do so.

“I would encourage them to talk about why they chose to read it or not,” she told The Chronicle.

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