Tuesday, July 26, 2016 | Subscribe

Hillsdale College sticks by Rush

Hillsdale College said it would continue adver­tising on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, fol­lowing a con­troversy over Limbaugh’s comments about a Georgetown Law student.

“Mr. Limbaugh made remarks of a kind that are destructive to rea­sonable political dis­course and that we would not tolerate on our campus,” said Vice President of Admin­is­tration Rich Péwé in a March 6 statement. “We hope deeply that he, his audience, and the American people will resume talking seriously about the ongoing assault on religious freedom and on other basic rights under our Constitution.”

Limbaugh called the woman, Sandra Fluke, a “slut” and a “pros­titute.” He also said she should post a sex tape online so that those who would help pay for her sexual exploits can get something in return. Fluke had appeared before a group of rep­re­sen­tatives on Capitol Hill to argue for the HHS mandate that would require insurance providers to provide con­tra­ception even if it goes against their religious beliefs.

Numerous com­panies, including Sears, AOL, and AllState, stopped adver­tising on Limbaugh’s show because of his comments. The talk show host apol­ogized for his words on March 5.

“Against my own instincts, against my own knowledge, against everything I know to be right and wrong, I descended to their level (the political left) when I used those two words to describe Sandra Fluke,” he said on his show on March 5.

The admin­is­tration issued its statement this week in response to phone calls and emails, including a message sent to faculty members by a woman calling herself Hesh Hepplewhite.

“I would assume the vast majority of both MALE and FEMALE employees and students at Hillsdale have used some form of birth control … Therefore by con­tinuing to sponsor Mr. Limbaugh, Hillsdale has decided to label their female employees and students SLUTS,” her email said.

Pro­fessor of English Michael Jordan said he thought the college’s response to the con­troversy was “sensible and tem­perate.” Don Westblade, assistant pro­fessor of religion, also said the college’s response was appropriate.

Others, however, said the school should have handled the sit­uation differently.

Katya Cav­allaro, a junior history and art major, said Hillsdale should stop adver­tising on Limbaugh’s show because of his comments, which she called “extremely offensive.”

“I think his comments are cer­tainly enough to justify pulling adver­tising,” she said. “I think they should def­i­nitely be recon­sidering it right now. In my opinion, there’s no question.”

Josephine Burns, an alumnus who graduated in 2011, said the school should reexamine its rela­tionship with the pundit.

“I don’t nec­es­sarily think that Hillsdale should pull their adver­tising from his show,” she said, “but  I think they need to think really carefully about the image that it sends people who are une­d­ucated about Hillsdale, or maybe who don’t understand Hillsdale’s mission, because I think in that sense, it creates a negative picture of Hillsdale as con­doning his outbursts.”

Paul Rahe, pro­fessor of history, said con­ser­vative pundits, including Limbaugh, are held to higher standards than their liberal counterparts.

“If he were a liberal, he’d have less trouble,” Rahe said. “You can call Laura Ingraham a slut and keep your job. But con­ser­v­atives expect decorum –– a measure of it, at least. And obviously he slipped across the line. And he did what a gen­tleman does when he crosses the line. He apologized.”

Rahe said Limbaugh failed to meet his audience’s expectations.

“The people who listen to Limbaugh are people who think there should be higher standards,” he said. “I know he knows that, that’s why he apologized.”

Official Admin­is­tration Statement

Yes­terday, a number of faculty and staff received an abusive email from one “Hesh Hep­plewhite.” The message was a clumsy and crude attempt to distract the College in light of con­tem­porary media disputes. In order to address any questions raised by these events, the College issues the statement below. Finally, should you receive an inquiry or cor­re­spondence similar in vein to that sent yes­terday, please simply forward it to Bill Gray, wgray@hillsdale.edu. Thank you for all the good work in pursuit of the daily task of teaching those in our charge.

“Hillsdale College advertises on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show because he and his large audience have proved them­selves friendly to the College’s 168-year-old mission: to provide “sound learning” of a kind essential to main­taining “civil and religious liberty” and “intel­ligent piety.” Last week, Mr. Limbaugh made remarks of a kind that are destructive to rea­sonable political dis­course and that we would not tolerate on our campus. We welcomed his apologies over the weekend and on his Monday radio show, and accept them as honest. We hope deeply that he, his audience, and the American people will resume talking seriously about the ongoing assault on religious freedom and on other basic rights under our Constitution.”

— Vice President of Admin­is­tration Rich Péwé

  • Gary Patrick

    Those words uttered by Limbaugh were indeed vile. He, no doubt, embar­rassed himself, reopening the door for the “left” to again call for his dis­missal, plus massive com­plaints to the sponsors. I noticed that the majority of these sponsors “sus­pended” their adver­tising, not canceled. Those par­ticular sponsors rec­ognize that they have gained enor­mously from his program, thus, likely will return. Orches­trated efforts by certain, rather smug groups even­tually pass. Their so called “free speech” applies only with whom they agree. Limbaugh screwed up. He’ll survive. Bravo! And kudos to Hillsdale for knowing, and demon­strating, how to think.

    • Jeff

      @Gary Patrick, clearly you are a student.

      That’s not how free speech works. The first amendment guar­antees that the *gov­ernment* may not interfere with you saying what you want, however, the *free market* dictates whether or not anyone wants to hear it. There’s nothing in the first amendment that guar­antees a willing market or medium for the speech.

      It’s clear based on the public reaction to Rush, that a large number of people don’t want to hear him and feel strongly enough about it that they don’t want to support com­panies who continue to sponsor him. The market has chosen freely, using its wallet, to decide what it wants to hear.

      Even if Rush is forced to quit due to lack sponsors, he will always has freedom of speech.…it’s just clear now that most people are sick of him and don’t want to listen to it.

      Free market cap­i­talism — it works.

      • Peter Smith

        We should be con­cerned about the impact that he has had and that he wished to have had on women who choose to speak out and exercise their free speech.

      • Joe

        “it’s just clear now that most people are sick of him and don’t want to listen to it.”

        You mean people who don’t understand what it is he is trying to accomplish which is to hold people to a higher standard the your average liberal..Conservatives applaud him and his apology as well, wheras a liberal would never apologize..they are too far above the rest of us

  • Joe from central PA

    Rush apol­ogized for 2 words he used, he didn’t apologize for the sentiment.

    “intel­ligent piety” is dif­ficult to achieve when you hitch your cart to a guy requesting sex tapes.

  • voice of reason

    Hillsdale College needs to file for divorce in its marriage to Rush Limbaugh. Of course, such a move would go against the admin­is­trations love of power. Climbing into bed with a serial adulterer syas a lot. Keep up the illusion (both Hillsdale and Limbaugh).

  • veritas

    All pub­licity is good! Seriously, why is it that only a Hillsdale under­graduate under­stands what is going on?

    • Sam Wall

      All pub­licity is not good. Hillsdale is forever tainted because of its con­nection and support to Limbaugh. Worse, the GOP is now tainted because he claims to be the voice of the Republican Party. He does not speak for the majority.

  • C Severt

    I think we all know what to expect from Rush, he has been extremely suc­cessfull at exploiting those with a hate men­tality.. The benefit the rest of use get from his hate messages is that it helps us identify his fol­lowers by simply observing those who speak well of him as a human being. Greed has never been so openly dis­played by so many oth­erwise well educated groups, religions,colleges and whole political parties.

    If anyone needs him or his type as their leader, just be cautious of how you relate to, or trust them in your life dealings with them.

    Basically, don’t fault Rush Limbaugh, he’s doing what he’s good at very well. Fault those who support and follow him.

    • Joe

      “The benefit the rest of use get from his hate messages is that it helps us identify his fol­lowers by simply observing those who speak well of him as a human being.”

      and as a con­ser­vative we get to identify the fol­lowers of Barack Obama who truly does hate what this country stands for..he hates it and Rush exposes it..But some just don’t get it..He is trying to dance around the Con­sti­tution by changing it using the court system..anybody who doesn’t see that has learned nothing from the Liberals , pro­gressives and FDR

      • C Severt

        Thanks for iden­tifying yourself Joe, kinda wish I better understood what you think this country stands for so we could warn people what to watch for. I really don’t think us old timers went to war to protect those with excessive personal greed and self­ishness at the cost those with com­passion for their fellow man.

  • Yvonne

    Shame on you for sup­porting this dis­gusting radio program. Not a good example for your students.

  • Thomas P.

    Hillsdale is losing stature in the com­munity, in the State, and in the Nation by sup­porting Limbaugh. Limbaugh is sin­gle­handedly losing support for the GOP.
    We won’t get the White House at this rate, since females are the majority of voters.
    Limbaugh is NOT a political show, he is NOT an important VOICE. He is nothing more than a show that degrades women for the pleasure of his mainly male loser lis­teners.
    We have to dis­as­sociate our­selves from him. We cannot lose the White House.

  • Douglas Suggs

    I am dis­ap­pointed in Hillsdale College con­tinuing to advertise on the Rush Limbaugh show. Come On! We should be able to discuss issues in this country without obscenely insulting those who disagree with us.
    As an insti­tution of higher learning Hillsdale should know better and not support such behavior.

  • Dennis Vercler

    I have never left a comment on a web site. Frankly, the whole expe­rience makes me a little nervous. But I can’t let this one go. I heard a Hillsdale radio ad on Rush’s show Wednesday and I was floored. I am a life-long political moderate, leaning towards con­ser­vative. I am 63 years old and have worked in com­mu­ni­cations for a con­ser­vative farm orga­ni­zation in Illinois for 36 years. I believe in personal freedom and the power of markets. Several of my friends have attended the excellent advanced business program at Hillsdale, and have been pro­fes­sionally rewarded by the expe­rience. So I was stunned to hear your decision to continue adver­tising after Rush’s recent comments. Not only was he dis­gustingly nasty towards women, but he also is the Loudmouth in Chief who has helped make public service in America seem a vile calling. Please reconsider your decision to continue adver­tising on a program that demeans women and damages the rep­u­tation of your fine insti­tution. P.S. He really belongs on Sirius-XM with Howard Stern.

  • Peter Smith

    Limbaugh is ungodly, un-Christian, and Un-American. The day is gone when Hillsdale should be sup­porting him.

  • Peter Sage

    Hillsdale College has every right to associate its brand with whatever high-visibility people it wants. By being loyal to a partisan talk radio shock spokesman, one who calls people he dis­agrees with “slut” and “pros­titute” and then moves from offensive to creepy by urging her to post sex acts on line, Hillsdale is making sure that its graduates have a rep­u­tation, a brand. The top-of-mind asso­ciation for Hillsboro is not academic excellence, it is not con­ser­vative religious values; it is not Nobel prize winning anything; it isn’t political or social lead­ership; it isn’t excellence in arts or per­formance or lit­erature. It is loyalty to Rush Limbaugh thuggery. Stand by your man; tarnish your brand.

    This is worse than mere hypocricy on behalf of Hillsdale. It is foolish and destructive of Hillsdale’s brand, and an injury to its graduates. The college devel­opment office and admin­is­tration will be fine because there will always be donors who want to support a partisan bomb-thrower. No, the injury isn’t to the college; it is to the graduates who have to put the brand right there near the top of a resume, a graduate of a college that excuses the inexcusable.

    Peter Sage

    • Sam Wall

      You’re right. Hillsdale graduates will be a joke out in the marketplace.

  • Matt 23:24

    “Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel!”

    Bill Maher, of HBO’s “Real Time,” recently announced a $1 million donation to a pro-Obama super PAC. Maher’s wealth, in addition to his show’s platform, makes Maher a pretty sub­stantial person of influence in the Demo­cratic Party. Yet Maher, on more than one occasion, referred to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin by the “c” word, called her a “dumb ‘t’-word” (think “twit” with a dif­ferent vowel), and has called Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., “bimbos.” Kirsten Powers, a former Demo­cratic strategist, wrote: “(Maher) recently made a joke about Rick Santorum’s wife using a vibrator. Imagine now the same joke during the 2008 primary with Michelle Obama’s name in it, and tell me that he would still have a job.”

    • Sam Wall

      Misogyny is not a partisan issue. Bringing up Maher’s ugliness does not excuse Rush’s ugliness.

      • veritas

        It does if you are a Hillsdale College faculty member and say it does!

  • John Tre­visano

    I t is shameful that Hillsdale College will continue to associate itself with Rush Limbaugh. It’s not that you simply advertise on his program, but that he is a paid spokeman for Hillsdale College. You really diminish your­selves by con­tinuing to advertise on the Limbaugh program.

  • Eric

    Prof. Rahe com­plains that con­ser­vative pundits are held to a higher standard than liberal pundits. My question is why, as con­ser­v­atives, shouldn’t we hold them to a higher standard? It’s our values that they are sup­posedly advo­cating for, after all.

  • Jeff King

    Why is integrity, ethics and honest remorse keyed to what side of the political spectrum one is on, as both Rush and Rahe seem to suggest?

    One either makes a sincere apology or not. In the same breath saying the left gets away with more makes me question the sin­cerity of said apology.

  • martin mcglone

    Thank you Hillsdale, for standing up for freedom of speech.….I may not agree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it…
    It is too bad that many of the com­men­tators, who are so appalled at Hillsdale, are never appalled when a liberal public figure gets into the gutter.
    Rush used poor taste, and apol­ogised forhis comments. Unfor­tu­nately, when a con­ser­vative makes an apology, it is never good enough.

    • Jeff King

      Apples and Oranges Martin. Why when a “Con­ser­vative” apol­ogizes, do they need mention liberals in the same breath.… Rush, Rahe and now yourself are good examples.

      True ethics are what one practice when no-one is looking. It’s too bad so many need to make a show out of it.

  • Merle Miller

    I like Rush I am thankful for him being there. if it wasn’t for him and others like him , where would we get the other side of the story. how many lies have we been told in the past and present with nobody out there to correct them. I am trying to find where to sign up for your history class that I heard on Rush. help keep con­ser­vative talk radio alive. and for the people that don’t want a second voice put your head back in the sand.

  • David Keating

    I cer­tainly think that Rush Limbaugh is entitled to free speech. Ditto, Hillsdale college is also entitled to support Mr. Limbaugh . That is a non issue

    But there are two issues which do concern me

    The first is the relentless drumbeat of intem­perate language issued by both faculty members & the admin­is­tration. The comments from Mr. Rahe in par­ticular seem a bit lacking in wisdom and gravitas..

    The second is the con­se­quence of asso­ciating with dem­a­gogues like Limbaugh

    Back in the 1960s — 1980s, Antioch College in Ohio went thru a period of left-wing rad­i­calism .. The decline of Antioch is a classic instance of a college fatally wounding itself by embracing extreme positions & assorting with folks of with ques­tionable moral char­acters. Antioch even­tually went out of business.

    Ladies & Gen­tlemen, any college that embraces rad­i­calism , rabble rousing & political dem­a­goguery — whether of the left or right wing side variety  — runs risk of con­demning itself to a future of medi­ocrity and decline

    Hillsdale needs to think very carefully about the insti­tu­tional con­se­quences of its embrace of Rush Limbaugh