So much for free speech on college campuses. The University of Tennessee bookstore has pulled a brand of novelty breath mints from its shelves, in compliance with a request from a Democratic state representative. The candy’s offense? It pokes fun at President Obama.
State Rep. Joe Armstrong asked the bookstore to stop selling the mints. They come packaged in tin cans with a Shepard Fairey-esque image of Obama and the admonition, “This is change? Disappoint-mints.” Armstrong argued that the mints were offensive.
“When you operate on state and federal dollars, you ought to be sensitive to those type of politically specific products,” Armstrong told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “If it was a private entity or corporation or store, (that’s different), but this is a state university. We certainly don’t want in any way to put the university in a bad light by having those political (products), particularly aimed at defaming the president.”
Armstrong approached the school bookstore after a student called to voice his offense at seeing the mints on display.
Bookstore director David Kent explained, however, that he had never before received complaints, even when the bookstore carried similar products critical of President George W. Bush.
“But someone saw it and they were offended by it [and] brought it to the attention of a state representative, said Kent. ”And I said ‘no problem, we’ll remove them.’” (RELATED: Police raid raw dairy producers in LA, destroy inventory)