≡ Menu

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

{ 28 comments… add one }

  • Gary Patrick March 8, 2012, 1:39 pm

    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.

    Reply
    • Jeff March 8, 2012, 6:16 pm

      @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.

      Reply
      • Peter Smith March 9, 2012, 6:32 pm

        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.

        Reply
      • Joe March 11, 2012, 3:07 pm

        “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

        Reply
  • Joe from central PA March 8, 2012, 4:51 pm

    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.

    Reply
  • voice of reason March 8, 2012, 8:04 pm

    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).

    Reply
  • veritas March 8, 2012, 9:02 pm

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

    Reply
    • Sam Wall March 9, 2012, 12:56 pm

      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.

      Reply
  • C Severt March 8, 2012, 10:47 pm

    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.

    Reply
    • Joe March 11, 2012, 3:11 pm

      “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

      Reply
      • C Severt March 13, 2012, 12:58 pm

        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.

        Reply
  • Yvonne March 9, 2012, 12:36 pm

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

    Reply
  • Thomas P. March 9, 2012, 1:16 pm

    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.

    Reply
  • Douglas Suggs March 9, 2012, 2:17 pm

    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.

    Reply
  • Dennis Vercler March 9, 2012, 4:12 pm

    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.

    Reply
  • Peter Smith March 9, 2012, 4:16 pm

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

    Reply
  • Peter Sage March 10, 2012, 4:02 pm

    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

    Reply
    • Sam Wall March 11, 2012, 9:42 pm

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

      Reply
  • Matt 23:24 March 11, 2012, 5:22 pm

    “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.”

    Reply
    • Sam Wall March 11, 2012, 9:41 pm

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

      Reply
      • veritas March 12, 2012, 2:17 pm

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

        Reply
  • John Trevisano March 13, 2012, 4:37 pm

    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.

    Reply
  • Eric March 14, 2012, 12:27 am

    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.

    Reply
  • Jeff King March 15, 2012, 10:02 am

    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.

    Reply
  • martin mcglone March 15, 2012, 10:09 pm

    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.
    Marty

    Reply
    • Jeff King March 15, 2012, 10:59 pm

      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.

      Reply
  • Merle Miller February 21, 2013, 12:19 pm

    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.

    Reply
  • David Keating August 1, 2013, 12:16 am

    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

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Latest Video

]]>