Facebook comments in response to E. Patrick Johnson visit removed

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | 5:52 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — MU administrators took down a thread from its official Facebook page on Tuesday after students complained about anti-gay remarks.

The comments were in response to a visit by E. Patrick Johnson, chair of the department of performance studies at Northwestern University, and his presentations that occurred Monday and Tuesday nights.

The presentations were titled "Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales" and "In Search of Countess Vivian: Queerness and the Making of Southern History." The events were presented in conjunction with MU's Pride Month and co-sponsored in part by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Resource Center, among other campus groups and organizations.

The Facebook advertisement for the presentations received more than 90 comments, according to an MU Facebook message posted Wednesday.

"Some of the comments were offensive to Mizzou students and fans. Comments that violated our posting policy — those that contained profanity or personal attacks, for example — were removed swiftly. Those that did not, remained on the Facebook page for more than 24 hours," the message stated.

One such comment that sparked a heated response was from Missouri state Rep. Kathie Conway, R-St. Charles.

"Really?? This is educational?," Conway wrote. "Just what is the percentage of the population that this could possibly apply? .0001%?"

Conway could not be reached for comment.

Mary Jo Banken, executive director of the MU News Bureau, said the university took down the posts in response to complaints by students who found the comments offensive.

"While we ordinarily would have merely edited those comments that were offensive, we decided to take down all the postings because we thought the original post had served its purpose," Banken said. "And that was to inform anyone that would have been interested in attending the lecture."

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