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'Misogynist' article removed from U of A law school website

A fictional article in a University of Alberta student publication has been removed and the vice dean of the school of law is investigating after students complained it perpetuated misogynistic stereotypes.

Vice dean of law school is investigating the article published on Canons of Construction

A satirical article describing a drunk third year female law student has been removed from a U of A publication. (Facebook)

A fictional article in a University of Alberta student publication has been removed and the vice dean of the school of law is investigating after students complained it perpetuated misogynistic stereotypes. 

The article called "Desperate Drunk Girl Finds Self at Hal-LAW-een" was recently published on the Canons of Construction. It was written by second-year law student, Aaron Duong.

The article describes a girl "who's been single just a little too long." The unnamed "girl" is a law student who had seven Jägerbombs to drink and was hitting on first-year law students at a law school event.

In a cached version of the story, the original article said, "This is the third year in a row I've seen this plastered bitch sloshing her way around the bar trying to get some new strange."

The word "bitch" was later changed to "girl."

A screenshot from the cached version of the satirical article. The text was changed between this version and the last version, which has since been removed from the website altogether. (CBC)

At the end, the "girl" decides to quit drinking, put on a chastity belt, and drop out of law school to sell environmentally-sustainable armpit wax to yuppie moms. The article is described as satirical and an attempt at humour.

But some law students aren't laughing.

'Shock humour that fell flat'

In a blog on the University of Alberta's Faculty of Law website, a group of students described as "The Dominion" wrote that satire cannot be an excuse for misogyny.

"Yes this is fiction," reads the blog.

"But it speaks to every woman in this program on some level. Every woman who has expressed romantic interest at a bar, every woman who has consumed alcohol in excess, every woman who regularly attends school social events. The solution for these women? According to this article, drop out of school. You aren't worth it."

Third-year law student Paul Welke says the words in the article are misogynist but he doesn't believe that was the author's intent. (Marc-Julien Objois)

Paul Welke is a third-year law student and a contributor to The Dominion.

Although the words are misogynist, he doesn't believe that was the author's intent.

"I honestly don't think the author holds any of the views he espoused in the article," he said.

"I believe it was a piece of shock humour that fell flat."

Welke is upset the article was even published on Canons of Construction.

"I think that if a publication is going to be able to call themselves the official publication of a group, that group has a reasonable expectation to expect a certain degree of professionalism and decorum from that publication," he said.

"I don't think that article met that standard."

Welke understands the article was meant to be satire but said there's a time and a place for that kind of writing.

"This was not done well at all," he said. "There were so many ways to misinterpret it."

Not freedom of speech

As a law student, Welke said freedom of speech can only go so far.

"Freedom of speech guarantees you the right to say whatever you like," he said.

"It doesn't necessarily guarantee you the right to a platform."

The University of Alberta Faculty of Law will be holding a town hall meeting on Nov. 30 for students to share their concerns about the article and the response to it.

Welke said he doesn't want to see the author suffer any long-term consequences.

"I believe the damage he's done to his own reputation is probably a sufficient deterrent."

About the Author

Nola Keeler is an award-winning journalist who has worked with CBC in Whitehorse, Yukon and Edmonton since 2000. She has worked as a host, reporter, news reader and producer for CBC. Send story ideas to nola.keeler@cbc.ca.