- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 22, 2016

An “American BBQ” event at Ramapo College of New Jersey was deemed “offensive” and too “military and recruitment-oriented” for school administrators.

Artist James Montgomery Flagg’s iconic “I Want You” recruitment poster inspired College Republicans at the school to create “We want you…to come to our BBQ” advertisements for a Sept. 16 event. The get-together, which was supposed to be co-sponsored with College Democrats and two residence halls, hit a snag on Sept. 14.

Emails obtained by education watchdog Campus Reform on Sept. 20 show Ariana Rivera, the assistant residence director of Bischoff Hall, conveying the administration’s concerns.

“Unfortunately, the American theme was considered offensive and so we apologize but we will not be co-sponsoring the Mackin Bischoff BBQ this Friday,” the student wrote to CR President Taylor Gilson.

Mr. Gilson pressed for details on the offended party’s identity and was told, “To be honest, I’m not sure. I think it was administrative. I was told that our advertising was too ‘military and recruitment-oriented,’ because we had the Uncle Sam saying ‘I want you…’ I think? However, we saw other posters with that same idea, so I really don’t know.”

Campus Reform contacted the school’s College Democrats for comment, but the group denied ever being involved with the event. The College Republicans, however, said they now plan on organizing a fundraiser for veterans issues to “combat the administration saying the BBQ was too ‘militaristic.’ “

“This issue was swept under the rug like nothing happened, and to some it may seem quite trivial, but to me this spells out a larger message: that a lot of colleges and universities in today’s society are willing to shut down students’ opinions in fear of offending someone,” club member Monica Lynn wrote for the school newspaper Sept. 19. 

Ramapo College Public Relations Specials Angela Daidone denied charges that officials threatened to cancel the event.

“The BBQ did go on as planned, there were American flags and TurboVote was there, and over 300 students attended,” she told Campus Reform. “The theme was changed, but there were American flags hanging.”

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