Clemson University bans Harambe memes for promoting racism, rape culture

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 2: Flowers lay around a bronze statue of a gorilla and her baby outside the Cincinnati Zoo's Gorilla World exhibit days after a 3-year-old boy fell into the moat and officials were forced to kill Harambe, a 17-year-old Western lowland silverback gorilla June 2, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The exhibit is still closed as zoo officials work to upgrade safety features of the exhibit. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
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CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 2: Flowers lay around a bronze statue of a gorilla and her baby outside the Cincinnati Zoo's Gorilla World exhibit days after a 3-year-old boy fell into the moat and officials were forced to kill Harambe, a 17-year-old Western lowland silverback gorilla June 2, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The exhibit is still closed as zoo officials work to upgrade safety features of the exhibit. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)

Credit: John Sommers II

Credit: John Sommers II

Clemson University is putting the kibosh on all public displays of Harambe, the oft-memed gorilla who was shot and killed in the Cincinnati Zoo in May, claiming that his image promotes racism and rape culture.

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In an email obtained by Campus Reform, Clemson Graduate Community Director Brooks Artis informed resident advisors that "We are no longer allowing any reference to Harambe (or any other spelling) to be displayed on doors, halls, billboards, or windows."

"Harambe should not be displayed in a public place or a place that is viewed by the public," the email said.

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Artis, who claimed that Harambe memes have been used to "add to rape culture" and can be a "form of racism," said that the announcement was spawned after a Harambe meme was used maliciously toward a student, though he did not get into further detail about that incident.

Artis also threatened that anyone who violated the new rules would "get in some trouble" and may be reported to the Office of Community and Ethical Standards or Title IX for the use of biased language.

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"While we are not banning the word, I want to encourage you to think about what you are saying and how someone who may be a different gender, race, culture, or sexuality than you may take the comment," Artis wrote.

The one exception to the Harambe meme display ban, Artis clarified, is in dorm rooms, "where people would have to be invited into the space to see said decoration."

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