Dear Readers

Kelly Nurge

Dear readers at ECU and abroad,

I would first like to thank you for the responses to our Sound Off in last Thursday’s issue. Regardless of your feelings on the piece, the columnist, The East Carolinian or the university as a whole, we appreciate any and all feedback. While that may sound like an automated line, the editors are genuinely grateful for all responses.

So why did we publish it? Firstly, we would never publish a controversial piece without a rebuttal. On the same page, we featured a contrasting opinion by Abby Brockmeyer. We felt that presenting both sides to the issue was important. We also are interested in opening a campus-wide discussion of an issue, and to our surprise, opened up an international dialogue as well.

Whether or not you agree with every word we put in print is not the point of the Opinion section. If you agree with every column in every issue, you wouldn’t pick up the paper. As stated before, we still stand behind our decision to print Cochran’s piece. We have dedicated today’s Opinion page to the issue and are still welcoming responses from all readers.


Kathryn Little

The recent opinion column, “Should birth control be offered on campus?” by Ben Cochran has caused quite a stir around campus. Though TEC staff members realized there potentially could be consequences of publishing the article, they did not expect that the article would gain both national and international coverage as well. To understand how the article’s integrity became compromised, it is important for one to acknowledge the publication procedure.

The editing process is an in-depth one. Once an article is written and submitted, the section editor edits it and determines if it is worthy for publication. The article or column sometimes goes through several rounds of editing, guaranteeing that it meets the standard of the section of which it will be published. Throughout the entire process, the only people allowed to see the unpublished version of the column are the section editor, writer and cartoonist/photographer, when necessary.

It is forbidden in The East Carolinian’s policy to allow anyone to see an unpublished composition — period.  In this particular situation, the article, unpublished, was sent to an employee. The crack in the foundation of protocol was obvious, as the raw article was wrongfully submitted to the virtual world. This breach in TEC’s protocol spread like Internet wildfire and was redistributed by websites such as Jezebel and College Confidential. There has been a significant response to both the published and unpublished versions of the column. Jezebel, for example, shares both versions of the article along with commentary, “Second, I’d like to thank him, for introducing me to a form of misogyny I never even knew existed. I did not know that guys were mad at chicks for clogging up doctor’s offices with their slutty ladyparts, but now I do, and my faith in the human race has decreased proportionally.”

Multiple responses to the article can also be found in countless blogs across the web, not to mention over 500 comments on the column on TEC’s website.

In today’s edition of The East Carolinian, there is space for people’s reactions to the Opinion column that has gotten such an impetuous amount of attention. If you have any additional feedback, feel free to continue to leave comments on TEC’s website or submit letters to the editor. We will continue to welcome any responses readers may have.


Ben Cochran

If you were among the many who were offended by my column last week, then let me take this opportunity to offer you a heartfelt apology. I am well aware that my stance was not a popular one. As an Opinion columnist, my primary goal is to generate informed discussion. To that end, I intentionally try to be provocative. As such, sometimes my columns offend people. Please understand that my intent was not to cause people to become enraged. I simply hoped they would disagree with the expressed opinion and state reasons for that disagreement. I wanted to see a lively debate, and hopefully, learn something in the process. The position I argued for is a valid opinion by virtue of the fact that it is an opinion. Unfortunately, my word choice was not the best. I cannot believe I said “conscientious” when I really meant “conscious,” among other things. From now on, I will take greater care to exercise better judgment. As always, your responses are welcomed and encouraged.

258 Comments for “Dear Readers”

  1. Ashley

    Apology not accepted. It’s not that I (and others, I imagine) simply did not agree with Mr. Cochran’s opinion. We were astounded by the sheer offensive nature of the piece (and I’m talking about the published one here). Posting something with so much blatant misogyny and trying to pass it off as “one side of the debate” is ludicrous.
    Ben Cochran should be fired.

  2. Ashley

    And again, Ben should have been fired the minute he sent out a draft with the words “cunt problem” in it.

  3. Kat

    The outrage has little to do with Ben’s stance, it is more a result of the misogynist, slut-shaming piece of garbage he used to illustrate his ideas. And what you are offering here is not an apology by any means.
    That the editors decided to publish this extremely offensive -and badly written- “opinion” piece and continue to support it, is a disgrace to journalism as a whole. I’m deeply disappointed that anyone on staff at the East Carolinian still thinks this was a good idea.

  4. Melissa

    I am generally pretty supportive of apologies. When mistakes are made that cannot be undone, apologies are the only option and should be accepted. However, this apology entirely misses the mark.

    Editors, the problem is that you think this is a worthy discussion. This is sexism, and “should we institute sexist practices” is not, at the college level, a relevant debate.

    Ben Cochran, your apology insults your audience again. We are intelligent enough to understand what an opinion is. Apologizing for the word “conscientious” is a slap in the face.

  5. Claire

    Next week on The East Carolinian:

    Sound off: Should black people get medical treatment on campus? No, no, It’s okay guys– we have someone who says they shouldn’t AND someone who says they should., so there’s two sides to the argument.

    • Lenna

      Thank you Claire. It does seem to me that people are overlooking this larger issue. That it’s somehow OK to say and to publish this threatening hateful garbage…as along as it’s about women. The editors would NEVER EVER be apologizing if they had printed some “well crafted/two sided” arguments about blacks or jews or whatever. They would never publish such things, no matter how much of a “lively discussion” it would create. Yet somehow it’s always OK to call women derogatory names, suggest that they should become even more of a second class citizen than they already are and attack their fundamental right to healthcare on the grounds that they’re just whores anyway.

      So, the TEC’s “apology” is an even bigger insult than Ben’s unbelievable non-apology. You don’t have to publish every piece of trash some ignorant ass sends you. Enjoy your careers at the National Enquirer, hopefully Ben will be working as the janitor (I’m sure they’ll let him pass out bandaids, what with that nursing degree and all).

    • Jordan

      First off, what a ridiculous analogy. The argument here was not whether or not women should be given medical treatment. The argument was whether or not Student Health Services should spend its time and resources (that are allotted for sick students) to take the time to provide women on campus with such a specialized item as birth control.

      I’m a guy, and I admit that I was blown away by how outrageous Ben’s column was. It was wrong and I also felt that he was very arrogant in his apology. But rushing so quickly to paint yourselves as the victims of such horrible sexism by using such a foolish analogy is incredibly unsavory.

      • Ashley

        Hang on now. The Student Health Services are paid for and provided to ALL students. Not merely the sick ones. Many students need to get physicals, vaccines, fill prescriptions for existing conditions, and so on. The fact of the matter is, he wasn’t just attacking birth control. He was also making light of women’s health concerns–pap smears are an integral part of women’s health–and used extraordinarily paternalistic, condescending, and offensive language. And I’m talking about the published piece. He likened gynecologists to “pest control” and asserted that their health concerns were not important.
        That is misogyny and it shouldn’t have been published.

      • Nick

        No, Jordan, you’re an idiot. Even if Cochran had a valid opinion that was worth airing, the moment he starts calling women “preemie sluts” with “cunt problems” he’s being a sexist idiot. If he wanted to argue that there are economical reasons for not providing birth control on campus, then he should have argued that, rather than ‘women are dirty sluts.’

      • V

        Sorry, but no.

        1. Birth control isn’t specialized. It’s just another prescription in the world of medications people take every single day.

        2. TEC has printed many, many sexist articles, comics and Pirate Rants that attack very specific groups of women and encourage men to take advantage of us over the six years that I’ve been attending this school, and the only times that I’ve seen an apology or seen the responsible parties held accountable were when a Women’s Studies professor wrote to complain, or when there was as enormous an outcry as this piece got.

        We’ll stop “painting ourselves as victims” when TEC’s editors stop selecting two-to-fifteen Pirate Rants about Ugg Sluts every week, stop printing completely irrelevant comics like this: , and stop hiding behind “It’s an OPINION in the OPINION section!” when someone writes in to disagree. To the current editors’ credit, in the case of Ben Cochran they have addressed the outcry, and I only hope they continue to give a voice to people who write in disagreement with the opinions presented in said section. Hopefully they won’t be like Katelyn Crouse and blow people off just because they don’t work at the paper.

  6. Kes

    Ben, don’t care about your “opinion” that you were “in actual need of medical attention” and are thus “inconvenienced by” female students who use the student health center as a source for birth control.

    Do Care, Very Much, about your jaw-dropping ignorance regarding those “gaping holes” (I’m sorry, you *meant* to use the much-less-juvenile euphemism “lady-bits”) and how they work. Hormonal birth control is not like aspirin, and you don’t take more of it if you have more sex. Furthermore, no qualified physician in the US will proscribe more than a year’s worth of birth control at a time, and no pharmacy will fill more than three month’s worth at a time, and no insurance policy will cover more than three month’s worth at a time, so whether it “seemed like a solid 36-month’s worth” or not, I can be fairly confident it was not.

    As a senior nursing student, you ought to know this. You also ought to know that hormonal birth control is used to treat far more conditions than “a regulated period and avoid[ance of] babies.” (Although I’m at a bit of a loss as to why it is not a worthwhile use of modern medicine to achieve either of those goals on their own…)

    I don’t care that you think your phlegm-y cold is more important than your fellow students’ reproductive health. I DO care that you didn’t bother to do the absolute bare minimum of research regarding women’s reproductive care before shooting your internet mouth off (and that your paper didn’t point any of this out to you or do some fact-checking on their own.) Since factual accuracy apparently doesn’t matter to you, you can take your apology and…

  7. Katy

    You know what? Apology (if you can even call this an apology) not accepted. You published a horribly-written, misogynistic piece of writing and now you are all surprised that people are getting angry. It’s not okay that you had a “rebuttal” piece to go with it. It is kind of scary that a nursing student has this much ignorance about the medical process. I will be telling everyone that East Carolina University is obviously not a good school if this is the kind of people they are churning out.
    Ben, I hope this follows you everywhere and that you are never actually given patients that you will misinform and hurt with your ignorance.

  8. Angie


    You seem to have made an elementary mistake, one that many budding/amateur authors and debaters make. Allow me to correct you:

    Those individual viewpoints and beliefs based on personal experiences and decisions which can be (and often are) completely off-base and incorrect….they have their own word. We call those opinions.

    Opinions do not carry validity in and of themselves.
    Opinions are not facts.
    Opinions can be wrong.

    Your “opinion” was full of misinformation and relies on sexist, misogynistic falsehoods. Your “writing” was full of trite sexist cliches and your reliance on vulgarity (C*NT PROBLEM? REALLY?) shows a clear deficiency in creativity and style.

    I shudder to think that you might one day hold another human being’s livelihood in your hands as a nurse. An adult who does not understand basic science, like how hormonal birth control works, is not someone I want working in healthcare. Especially one who thinks that 1) 30 minutes is a long wait for a walk-in at a student clinic and 2) the common cold is something you head to the student clinic for.

    Here’s a little pro-tip for you: there is no cure for the common cold. Take your misogyny and your mucus and go home to rest for 24-48 hours.

    One hopes that ECU has stricter standards for its nursing students than The East Carolinian has for its ‘columnists’…

  9. Doug

    Figures. You’re not sorry in the least. I can FEEL the gloating coming out of that ‘apology’ of yours. Your ‘article’ wasn’t a discussion in the least, Ben, it was pure hate and you’re so happy because finally the ladies are giving you some attention. You sure as hell don’t appear to have learned anything and your opinion is only valid if you’re a wimpy, wretched, misogynistic asshole, which clearly you are.

  10. Kat

    PS: Allow me to point you in the right direction for next time you mess up and need to apologize: That is how it’s done.

  11. Bree

    That was quite possibly the worst apology ever, especially considering the fact that he keeps bragging about how unpopular his article was on his facebook page, clearly what he says here and what he actually feels (particularly towards women) are two very different things.

  12. DJ


    Really, what?

    That isn’t an apology. Mr. Cochran is not sorry. This is a giant slap in the face.

    What a waste of space- both the author AND the paper itself.

  13. Katie

    REALLY?! You call that an apology?!

    He apologized for using “conscientious” in place of “conscious”?! What about “preemie sluts”, “cunt problems”, “hatchet wound”, “gaping holes” just to name a few. I am beyond ashamed to be linked to this school.

  14. Nela

    You’re apologising for your word choice and the thing you pick out is mixing up ‘conscious’ and ‘conscientious’?

    No mention of vile, misogynist phrases like ‘hatchet wound’, ‘gaping hole’ and ‘cunt problems’? Sluts and harlots? Sex mongers?


  15. Ally

    As I am sure you are aware, you have failed to address the source of many people’s anger. I will not reiterate all of the obvious downfalls of your rant, but I will say that there is one apology that you should make in your best interest.
    As a fellow student nurse in the College of Nursing, you must already know that we are ashamed. A senior in this program should be fully aware of the issues at hand, for this I am totally confused by the ignorance you portrayed.

    For this reason, I must assume that you are pretending to be ignorant for the sake of social media. You have brought shame to our university, shame to our program and most importantly to yourself. If you should continue in this profession, I should hope that you apologize to the many disappointed students and faculty of the College of Nursing. As I have seen this article has made its presence on many national nurse discussion sites, I will say to you GOOD FREAKING LUCK FINDING A POSITION AS A NURSE.

  16. Stephanie

    “I cannot believe I said “conscientious” when I really meant “conscious,” among other things.”

    Really? You’re apologizing for a word mix-up when your entire piece was filled with misogyny? Thank God you’ve jumped to apologize for using words incorrectly, instead of apologizing for being a woman-hating douche.

    Do you hear that sound, Ben? It’s the point whooshing over your head.

  17. Alexander

    Kathryn and Kelly, I’m assuming you’ve both had “cunt problems” in the past. Sometime, a slut’s gash just acts up! Because you decided that it’d be a good idea to run this garbage, I hope your axe wounds are sewn shut permanently. The last thing we need are idiots like you breeding with idiots like Ben Cochran.

    • Ell Zee

      Um. What? I can’t quite decide if this comment is intended as satire, nor can I determine with any certainty the side of the debate that this commenter identifies with.

      Still, the language is pretty disgusting and unavoidably misogynist and violent, even if this is some sort of 12-dimensional chess way to criticize the original piece. If that is indeed the intent: cut it out. You’re not helping.

      • Alexander

        I’m using the exact same language Ben used, you moron. Every single woman – and man – who considers themselves a friend to this gigantic tool should be ashamed, as should the people who decided to have this put out to the public.

        • Alexander

          Oops, sorry, SORRY! His original wording was “hatchet wound,” not “axe wound.” My bad!!! Maybe I’ll issue an apology to everyone I hurt with this article and note that I got the wording mixed up. Problem solved!

    • Shoana

      So instead of critisizing Mr Cochran’s repellant misogyny you’ve decided that attacking the female editors in a highly misogynistic manner, hoping they get their vaginas sewn shut, is the best course of action. I see. I hope you didn’t think you were fighting against sexism or anything because your little screed(that frankly made me feel sick) just makes you yet another misogynistic man.

    • Ashley

      Though TEC’s fake apology was appalling, this sort of thing is not an acceptable reaction. Let’s not try to fight sexism with more sexism.

  18. katz

    All of you involved should be ashamed of yourselves for this. Obviously you don’t understand that Ben Cochran wrote a nasty article of HATE speech against women and this paper published that hate-filled diatribe. Cochran, thankfully, will never work as a nurse. His name is out there, forever linked and infamous, to this. However, he still should be removed from the nursing program. The editors of the paper should be fired. What was published was the same as the paper publishing a blatantly racist article (which they likely would have sense not to do; why is misogyny still acceptable?). This crap above just makes me more angry. Really, this is the response of the guilty parties? It’s just proof that there are some deeper issues that need addressed. I think we need to hear from the higher ups–the deans, the president. None of this behavior should be acceptable at an place of higher learning.

  19. Melissa

    I agree that we need to hear from the deans and president. If they are silent, I can only assume that they support Ben Cochran and the decisions of the editors. I currently think that they much have already expressed that ECU supports Ben Cochran’s hate speech and the promotion of that hate speech by the editors because they all felt empowered to make terrible apologies.

  20. katz

    Ben, really? You are a nasty piece of work and you obviously don’t get it. What you wrote was in not way an opinion piece about birth control. What you wrote was a whiny, hate-filled, misogynistic, entitled, man-privileged bitch fest. Actually, your position is not valid and shouldn’t be given a platform by a college newspaper. You and this newspaper have shamed your school at an international level. The students of this school should be organizing a protest to have you and these editors removed from campus (or at the very least removed from the position of speaking for the university). In case none of you understand, hate speech is not protected speech!

  21. Mina

    You all are missing the point in a really spectacular way, and I hope none of you are hoping for a future in journalism because you seem to lack basic knowledge of skills in this realm. There is a world of difference between a provocative piece and what you published. Ben Cochran’s opinion piece was not a lively article intended to provoke discussion, it was a misogyny filled rant against women. The moment someone read his article which included things like “hatchet slice” and “cunt problem” it should have been out of consideration for publication. Everything in there is about shaming women, not opening up subjects for discussion.

    Not every choice is a good one, and you don’t have to stubbornly dig in your heels about every one. The choice you made to edit and publish that piece was a bad one, and it’s a greater sign of maturity and intelligence to recognize when you make a bad choice and admit it.

    And Ben, of all the bad choices you made in that argument (such as demonstrating you have no idea how oral contraceptives work, and using unprintable, hateful slang to refer to women’s genitals), I can’t believe that the one you choose to single out as needing correction is contentious instead of conscious. If the editors need any reason to realize you should not be a staff writer, that’s one right there.

  22. katz

    Do you people at the newspaper not understand that both the unpublished and published versions of the article are offensive? It doesn’t matter that the language was changed in the second article, the ideas are still identical. It’s still misogynistic and still hate speech.

  23. Kit

    That’s it? “I wanted to be Tucker Max (totally funny & provocative, right?) and then I spelled a word wrong. So, um…sorry or something. Bitches.”

  24. Katherine

    I am comforted in the fact that because this gained so much attention on a national and international level that this will follow Ben for a very long time. Good luck getting a job love! I hope they don’t know how to use google!

  25. katz

    Seems the university needs to update its policies to include sexism. Ben’s article falls more under the racial and ethnic harassment policy than it does as sexual harassment. (Text in brackets is mine)

    “Racial and/or ethnic [SEXISM? MISOGYNY?] harassment endangers the environment of tolerance, civility, and mutual respect that must prevail if the university is to fulfill its mission. Such harassment will not be condoned by members of the university community.”

  26. Kit

    Instead of contacting the editors, who are too busy chortling over their international response to understand the problem, perhaps it would be better to contact the school, the dean or the head of nursing.

  27. Alexa

    Ben, you wanted “informed discussion” and “lively debate” from which people “learn something in the process”?

    Your “editorial” was nothing more than a glorified whining jag from an idiot (a nursing student nonetheless!) who hasn’t the slightest idea what the best treatment for a cold is (hint: rest and fluids), let alone what standard gynecological care entails. There was nothing remotely of substance to argue– the basis of you entire “opinion” is that you were ONCE minorly inconvenienced by girls getting their prescriptions filled, and you just slopped a load of misogyny on top. If you had based your opinion on religious or moral grounds, I’d still disagree with you, but at least you’d becoming from a place of substance.

    You are a childish oaf and I hope you have a fun time paying off your student loans with the minimum wage job you’re going to have to get because every single medical employer is going to Google your name and find this crap (and guess what! Most of your prospective employers are women!)

    • Lenna

      Maybe this won’t be an issue (his ‘career in nursing’), according to his facebook page he received a 75 in his obstetrics course. I for one am shocked! Please look up sarcasm in the dictionary and apply it to my previous statement.

  28. Kitten Kaboodle

    I’m willing to bet this guy has never even SEEN a real “hatchet wound”. (It’s really called a vagina.) It’s unlikely that he ever will.

  29. Lucy Gillam

    Ben, let me see if I have this straight. You’re not apologizing for opining that the preventative medical care of half the human race should take a back seat to the common colds of the clearly more important other half. You’re not apologizing for truly nasty condemnation and judgment of women’s sexual activity, to say nothing of an astounding level of ignorance about female reproductive health. You’re apologizing for a spelling error.

    I’m an English professor with a PhD in rhetoric, so I do believe that we can generate knowledge through debate. However, for that to happen, all parties must be arguing in good faith. You don’t achieve knowledge through hate speech, and you don’t create anything good by throwing an already marginalized group under the bus.

    Both your original column and your apology show the arrogance of a person who has never had to struggle to get his concerns taken seriously, and no, waiting half an hour to see a doctor doesn’t count. Try having your insurance refuse to pay for the birth control pills that keep you from bleeding into anemia every month because some senator thinks that if student insurance covers them, it might give the “a free pass for harlotry.” Try watching as things that affect only your sex – childbirth, prenatal care – are left uncovered by insurance. Try finding out how many drugs for things like heart disease are tested almost exclusively on people not your sex. Try watching as laws are passed that limit your medical autonomy, or as judges make decisions about your medical care. Hell, just deal with doctors taking your pain less seriously, suggesting emotional causes more quickly, and generally assuming you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Live that for a few years. And then come back to me and tell me you were hoping we’d learn something.

    • JR

      I doff my hat to you, ma’am. _Very_ well said.

    • Anonymous

      “Try watching as things that affect only your sex – childbirth, prenatal care – are left uncovered by insurance.”

      Off-topic, but I always like to remind people that childbirth and prenatal care isn’t just a “female issue.” It’s a human issue. Every single person on this planet (men included) was gestated and born from a woman. Male babies require prenatal care too. Male babies suffer from complications during childbirth too. Men who think they shouldn’t have to pay for this type of medical care forget that they needed it too, back when they were still inside their mothers’ wombs. Why does no one realize that?

    • Gretchen

      Very well said.

  30. Kitty

    I don’t believe for a second that you are truly sorry for what you wrote nor have you learned anything from all of this. Apology not accepted. Also, I’m not sure to laugh or what that the word you chose to highlight that you can’t believe you wrote was ‘conscientious’. Wow.

  31. thom

    what a douchecanoe. i hope he never gets a job. good luck getting a date with your hatred of women! everyone should contact the dean of nursing:

  32. Kaylee

    The one thing that the editors and author fail to understand is that hate-filled misogyny is neither provocative nor does it generate intelligent discussion. What you have done by writing and publishing this is represent yourselves and your university in the worst possible ways. And the internet never forgets. All of your names will be attached to this. All of your future employers will see this shining example of unprofessional behavior.

    For future reference, an apology is worded as follows: “I’m sorry that I offended”. Saying “if” blames the person who was offended. Ben was the one who offended. It was his actions that caused offense. So if he was sincere about his apology he would apologize for his actions and not for how they were received.

    The editors would be well served to also apologize for their poor judgment in accepting any version of the essay in question. We all can see that it was not intended to spark discussion, nor was it intended to be an intelligent counterpoint to the other “side” of the argument. It was misogynistic drivel and offered no rhetorical value.

    • Kitty

      Well said and thank you for explaining a fauxpology to them.

    • Emily

      This was going to be the main thing I was going to argue! Thank you so much for putting it much more eloquently than I could. If he’s not actually sorry for being offensive, it’s best to just say nothing than further offend by throwing a fauxpology out and hoping that it’ll salvage the mess. Now he just comes off as sexist AND condescending.

  33. Liza

    You do understand, right, that people aren’t upset because you published a piece opining that birth control shouldn’t be distributed on campus? Pieces like that are published all the time, and while they annoy people who think birth control should be affordable and readily available (myself included), they tend not to make them angry.

    No, people are upset because you published a piece that was so viciously sexist and so patently inaccurate that a more well-regarded publication would never have let it see the light of day. Then, when people rightly became angry, you proceeded to defend your provision of a platform for Cochran’s misogynist drivel in the name of “free speech”, and published a snide non-apology from Cochran himself. You wouldn’t publish racist opinion pieces in the name of “creating dialogue”, so don’t publish sexist ones.

    Both Cochran and The East Carolinian are going to continue getting this negative attention until either it dies down on its own or The Carolinian publishes an actual apology rather than a defense of past decisions. You made a mistake. Make it right.

    • katz

      There is no way these students (Ben, Kelly and Kathryn) can apologize to make this fiasco ‘right’. Of course, they do owe everyone a sincere apology. However, they also must face actual, serious, direct repercussions for their actions. They all deserve to lose their positions. Ben should lose his position as a student in the nursing program and the editors should lose their positions on the newspaper.

  34. Kate

    I have seen some major non-apologies in my day, but this one takes the cake. I don’t believe that Ben Cochran is sorry about anything, except maybe that he has to make the effort to half-ass an apology when he clearly doesn’t think he did or said anything wrong. If he was really serious about doing this to provoke a debate, he’d be open to the well-deserved criticism he received, instead of choosing maybe his least offensive wording choice to “apologize” for. I sincerely hope he reconsiders his choice of profession. I shudder to think of the treatment a vulnerable woman in need of medical care would receive at his hands, since he clearly has such a low opinion of the entire gender.

  35. Erica

    So Ben’s stance isn’t ‘I’m sorry I made a mistake,’ it’s ‘I’m sorry you got mad.’ Like ALL OF US expected, he’s not sorry and he truly believes he did nothing wrong.

    “I simply hoped they would disagree with the expressed opinion and state reasons for that disagreement.” Okay, I’m laughing at this. For one thing, the question you were to address was ‘should birth control be distributed on campus?’ not ‘are women worthless and deplorable for using birth control?’ And did you SERIOUSLY think the awful things you said wouldn’t incite JUSTIFIABLE rage?

    Sparking debate is NOT the same as trolling or bashing.

    If TEC can’t stomach the thought of firing a writer who promotes bigoted views, maybe they’ll consider firing an ineffective writer — because Cochran, by his own words, admits that he is one.

  36. Marnie

    Setting aside the blatant misogyny and entitlement Cochran shows, let’s step back for a minute and imagine if instead of writing this drivel, Cochran wrote an article explaining that modern medicine is a crock and we should go back to studying the body’s humours, applying leaches for fevers and prescribing mercury as a general salve.

    From a senior nursing student, this would be laughed out of town. It would suggest that someone could nearly complete a nursing degree and have no understanding of the field of study. It would undermine the institution’s program and indicate that Cochran might not actually be prepared to enter the workforce.

    The same is true of every point in the original article. It’s not just unacceptable for its misogyny it’s unacceptable because it reflects poorly on the education provided by the school publishing the paper. It is akin to an astrophysicists arguing the world is flat and the center of the solar system.

    The non-apology suggests only that Cochran is unable to make that distinction. There’s a difference between making a legitimate, even controversial argument and simply posting ignorant misogyny.

  37. David

    Ben, if this is how you talk to people you have so blatantly and deeply offended, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a few years down the line that you’ve learned exactly what it’s like to have a hatchet wound of your own.

  38. Shoana

    The problem with Mr Cochran’s outrageous misogyny was not that he didn’t express it nicely enough. Nevertheless, I’m used to seeing sexist attacks on women even in reputable papers, so even though they should be far from acceptable I’m not that surprised. What surprises me though is his level of medical ignorance.

  39. Jen

    The fact that the editorial staff of TEC stands behind printing this piece is a large part of the problem. There are ways that Mr. Cochran could have presented his argument without his inflammatory and sexist verbiage. If that had been the case, people might have been upset or annoyed with his comments, but I don’t believe there would be a backlash of this magnitude. Given the vitriolic and misogynistic nature of the original piece, not only should the piece have never been printed in any form, the writer himself should have been fired. As others have pointed out, if the subject matter had been racial or sexual minorities, the piece would have been immediately seen as grossly inappropriate.

    To Kelly, let me say that readers agreeing with every word you print truly is not the point of a publication. That I agree with; however, printing something that could damage the health of female students and/or create a hostile environment in which women do not feel comfortable looking out for their own health, coupled with the flippant sexist comments, flies in the face of ECU’s sexual harassment policy and therefore makes the story unsuitable for publication. Journalistic ethics and integrity have gone out the window here, and anyone who takes those things seriously would not have allowed it to go to print, and surely would not be standing behind it in the face of mounting hostility. This isn’t taking a stand – this is defending a form of hate speech under the banner of free speech. TEC is a student-run newspaper, and it is at least in part funded by student fees (whether directly or via the paychecks of those on the Advisory Board), and the low-grade material that you consistently print in pieces like this or in the Pirate Rants is not indicative of what this university wants to present to the world at large.

    To Ben, your apology is not accepted, and you are not genuinely repentant for what you’ve said. Perhaps you believe that you are, but the fact that you don’t address the sexist language shows that you genuinely have no problem calling women on this campus “sluts” or referring to the vagina as a “hatchet wound”, a “gaping hole”, or a “cunt”. Evidence for your true feelings on the backlash is apparent on your Facebook wall, which I suggest you make private.

    To Kathryn, the lapse in protocol that allowed the original unedited version to be released is not the issue here, and the fact that this is how you choose to frame the issue is indicative of the larger issues at play over in the TEC offices. You speak of the article’s integrity, but this article NEVER had any iota of integrity – not in the unedited or the published versions. The editorial staff is completely missing the point here. The TEC has been publishing things like this for years now, and this piece is the last straw for many of us. Journalistic integrity doesn’t seem to exist in TEC, for the most part.

    These apologies fall short of any genuine understanding of the problem here, and honestly just serve to illustrate how lacking TEC is in ethics, integrity, and professionalism.

  40. Heather

    The backlash from this simple article is ridiculous.

    Take a breath and think about what you’re mad about. You’re mad about the original, unedited version of an opinion article written by a student who has been known to cause a stir. As a woman, I personally found Ben’s EDITED article funny. I did catch myself gasping occasionally at some of the things he said but I take his jokes simply as that: JOKES.
    If you want to get mad about the article that was published, fine, be mad and say all you want about it. But don’t make cruel comments to the members of the paper who are trying to smooth over the situation. The unedited article was never supposed to be seen by the student population and certainly not seen all over the internet.
    How are you guys, the ones who are vehemently demanding the heads of everyone at the paper, any better than the writer of the article? He wrote his article IN ORDER to cause a stir. That’s what the Opinion section is about. John Stewart and Stephen Colbert have certainly said worse and they are praised for the things they say even though they may be offensive.

    It is ridiculous to take this article seriously. It was written because the topic, birth control, needed a con viewpoint and someone offered to write it. It was never supposed to be blown out of proportion.

    The people at the paper have been doing the best they can as a student run paper and your criticisms should take that into account. Yes, they do understand how angry you are and they understand exactly WHY you’re angry. How could they not with all the comments everyone has made?

    The people making careful and respectful responses are being heard loud and clear, but those of you who are being disrespectful to a group of people you don’t even know should be ashamed of yourselves. If you can’t voice your concerns with respect then how do you deserve it in return?

    • Ashley

      You are missing the point completely. Unedited article aside, the published version was full of blatant misogyny and for a University newspaper, this sort of thing should be unacceptable. The comments from the editors betray that they do not, in fact, understand why we’re angry. They maintain that Ben’s editorial was one side of a debate and that we were all made because we simply did not agree, but that is an overly simplistic way of looking at it.
      Bigoted hate speech should not be validated by our newspaper. Period. Your comparison of Ben Cochran to Jon Stewart is laughable. They provide social commentary, not horrifically offensive hate speech, which is what Ben’s article was.
      And by the way, your internalized misogyny is a little depressing. This is why feminism is still needed.

    • Kat

      We get it, you’re not one of us evil bitches failing to see the humor in Ben’s hate speech. If only we could all the see fun in being called “preemie slut”, “harlots” and being degraded throughout the entire article, first draft and published version alike, like you can see it. The world would be a better place if we could just accept that female reproductive health is less important than a Big Manly Man having a cold, AM I RITE BRO?!

      The East Carolinian does not deserve respectful responses for this. They made a very wrong decision when they okay’d this article for publication. Instead of owning up to their mistake and giving a REAL apology, they hide behind a steaming pile of bullshit. You want proof that Ben Cochran doesn’t give a rat’s ass about hurting women? Go check his Facebook, it’s there for the whole world to see how little he cares.
      If they want respect, they should have shown some respect to women all over the world by NOT PUBLISHING a prime example of misogyny written by someone who should know better, that is someone above the age of 3.

      • Heather

        Kat- “Evil bitches” is your phrase and no one else’s. I never, nor did anyone else defending TEC, say anything to the effect of “female reproductive health is less important than a Big Manly Man.”

        Ashley- I think it’s just delightful that you took my stance as “internal misogyny.” Just because I am a woman that can laugh at what is obvious satire does not mean I have a poor self image or that I think I deserve to be treated with disrespect. When I laugh at the phrasing used by Ben it’s the same as when men laugh at their own stereotypes.
        That I am a woman that does not hold the same opinion as you on his article certainly does not mean that I have internal misogyny.

        David- You seem to be well acquainted with sarcasm. How about you understand that Ben is as well.

        ‘Johnathan Swift’- I will agree that I am skeptical of that name as much as anyone else here, but I sincerely doubt it is Ben trying to defend himself. His points nonetheless are valid and instead of addressing them people are dismissing them by saying it’s just someone who agrees with Ben or is Ben.

        • Ashley

          “Obvious satire”
          Er…no. It’s not satire. In fact he says in his “apology” the reason why he wrote it and it was to make people angry, not to be satirical. Whether or not he actually believes what he wrote is one thing but it’s not satirical simply by virtue of him writing something that he doesn’t actually believe, just so you know.
          And yes, it is internalized misogyny, actually. You don’t have to have a poor self image to have it though, Heather. But you obviously think you’re some special snowflake of a woman who doesn’t get her panties in a knot like those *other* women when misogynistic crap gets published and then subsequently protected in the newspaper. Marginalized groups of people often internalize their oppression. It makes it easier to exist in a society in which they are oppressed. It’s sad, but it happens.

          • Heather

            Ahh Ashley, do you often take one instance and make large assumptions because of it? I do not set myself above others because of my views and my opinion does not mean I internalize my oppression.
            You know nothing of me except what I have written about this article and I assume you do not have a license to practice any form of psychology in which you can read into my response and deduce something so intimate about my personality, so don’t attempt to.

        • JR

          Ben is, at best, an incompetent satrist.

          What he did was the rough equivalent of penning an article allegedly, say, from a TEA party perspective that consists of nothing but “We hate Obama because…” followed by 1200 repetitions of the same vulgar racial epithet. That is _not_ satire.

          Context matters. Wit matters. Perhaps there was some context that the author and editors shared that allowed them to dismiss the worst of this essay as “not-serious”, and perhaps they so lack in wit as to think his strident rant actually humorous….but Ben, as an incompetent author, failed to set up such a context for the readers, and the editors, also incompetent, failed to pick up on it. (This is all assuming, and it’s quite a stretch, the best of intentions on the part of all involved.)

          The end result was something that read like a KKK member starting a joke “Three n*****s, a k***, and a w** walk into a bar….”
          Only a racist would find such a joke funny except in incredibly rare circumstances, and only a raging misogynist could find humor in Ben’s “satirical” rant.

    • Emily

      thanks, heather :-)

    • JR

      No, Heather. The edited version was nearly as bad. It contained the same level of ignorant misogyny as the original, just in a marginally pretty wrapper.

      The editors should be ashamed for publishing the piece — it was incredibly unprofessional and did _nothing_ to convey “the other side” of the issue. The fact that they still do not realize why the piece should have been rejected speaks poorly first of their ability and understanding and secondly of the school teaching them.

      Controversy is one thing. Publishing a hate screed and then continuing to back the decision to publish it is another entirely.

      As for Cochran himself…words fail me.

      You are all entitled to your opinions, of course, and you are free to voice them. Just realize that actions do have consequences, and all of you involved have given your school and its paper a black eye while deeply damaging your own reputations, and, in the case of Cochran, very likely ending whatever career he might have had waiting for him.

    • Sharon

      The opinion section of a newspaper is not the place for his “comic” (really?) writing. What the editorial staff had said was they wanted dialogue. One enters into dialogue in an intellectual fashion–particularly at a place of higher education. If this diatribe is considered good op-ed fodder at this paper, then it is in serious trouble.

      Not everything needs a con comment. No one writes anything about “racial equality, the down side” or “tolerance, why bother?” because that is stupid. Your man’s attitude and mode of transmitting said attitude are equally valid topics for reader ire, as the editorial staff and writer in question opened up the dialogue with their pitiful apologies. The comments here have been mostly spot-on with a few Cochran-esque side-bars.

      The problem is sexism. The problem needs to be addressed by the school entire. Good luck with that.

    • Gretchen

      Jokes? A Stepford Wife in the making.

    • Kim

      You are mistaken. I was quite angry at the PUBLISHED piece a full 24 hours before I ever laid my eyes on the un-edited version. I was shocked, and appalled, and the thought never even occurred to me that, perhaps, the version I was reading was cleaner and less misogynistic than an earlier draft.

      Even the things (pabst beer) that were clearly jokes, and not necessarily offensive had they stood on their own without being surrounded by hateful, mean, misogynistic words, were just dumb.

      You are ABSOLUTELY right that it’s ridiculous to take this article seriously, and that’s the entire point that we’re upset about. The “pro” side of the argument was a serious piece, that was written respectfully and with thought. The editors of the paper should not have simply accepted poorly composed satire as a counter-point. This would have remained true even if the piece Cochran wrote was only poorly composed satire, and not blatantly hate speech.

      In such a point-counter-point section, it is the responsibility of the writers and editors to present real opinions, thoughtful explored, to produce real and thoughtful discussion.

  41. Anonymous

    ” I am well aware that my stance was not a popular one.”

    Mr. Cochran, this simple statement shows how completely ignorant you are of the issue here. We are not outraged at your opinion. In fact, most news / opinion readers LIKE to hear both sides of the story.

    We are outraged at your pure degradation of the female gender and blatant hate speech. To top it off, you are a senior nursing student about to embark on a career in healthcare. You are ignorant and your apology is a sham.

    To TEC, we understand how the news works. You present a controversial issue from both sides. What we don’t understand is how an editor accepted this ‘article’ and didn’t immediately report it to Mr. Cochran’s advisor as slander and hate speech.

    Poor judgment at every step! TEC has disgraced the name of ECU at an international level by playing a part in this and Ben Cochran has ensured that he will never have a career in the healthcare industry.

    • JR

      “…about to embark on a career in healthcare.”? I don’t think so.

      Any moral or ethical qualms about his character aside, the mere fact that his article is out on the net and easy to find makes him a huge legal liability for any employer that might otherwise wish to hire him.

      He gets a job, a female patient of his complains of poor treatment (true or not), gets a lawyer, they find the article online…and they have a ready-made case for “Yeah, she got bad treatment and Cochran’s hatred of women motivated it. The fact his employer hired him when this screed was trivially available proves them negligent in their hiring practices (at best), or sharing in his views toward women (at worst), and therefor financially liable for my client’s pain and suffering…” What employer is going to take that risk?

      Ben’s nursing career is over before it started.

  42. Anonymous

    If you’re still outraged (or even more-so by this ignorant apology), send an email to the dean of the school of nursing. She deserves to know what kind of nurse the school is endorsing.

    Dr. Sylvia Brown

  43. Lucy Gillam

    Heather: Well, first, let’s tackle that “needed a con side.” This topic didn’t just arise from the ether. It was the editors who decided that it was necessary and interesting to debate whether the student health center of a public university should offer medication which not only prevent pregnancy (a problem the affects both men and women, but which affects women much, much, much more), but serves as actual preventative care and treatment for many actual disorders suffered almost exclusively by women. So let’s not pretend that even *having* this debate is a neutral act, okay?

    Second, as for the strength of the reaction, shockingly, it turns out that when you degrade people, belittle their concerns, and generally act like an ass to them, it does not incline them to be polite in return.

  44. Suzie

    Ben’s biggest mistake? Writing an article that gave every hormonal girl on campus a target to bitch about her heavy flow and wide-set vagina to. ECU is clearly full of angry feminists fully prepared to jump down the throat of any man who dares to lack sympathy for their vaginal plights.
    I read the article and didn’t feel that he insulted my lady bits. I also didn’t find any traces of “slut shaming.” I personally cracked up laughing at some of Ben’s comments, such as the one confusing Pabst Beer with pap smear. Instead of taking offense, I took his pointless argument with a grain of salt. What I do find offensive are the inappropriate comments left on TEC’s website. Does an article about birth control really warrant telling someone you hope their penis falls off? Or that you hope they contract syphilis? Does it REALLY make them a rapist?
    Instead of screaming “off with his head” at Ben, maybe some of you ladies (and the occasional “gentlemen”) should find someone who actually CARES to complain to about your menstrual cramps and prolactin levels and quit ranting on the internet.

    • Kiera


      This is male privilige

      • JR

        This is likely one of Ben’s sock puppets.

        • JR

          Actually, on second thought…..maybe it isn’t. I’m wondering if “Suzie” and “Heather” are our dear editors. “Heather” in particular seems to know an awful lot about what duties each has and also seems to be taking a vested interest in keeping _one_ of the editors’ hands marginally clean…

    • Anony

      ikno, rite? Don’t these sluts know it’s their motherfucking obligation to laugh when a man insults them? They should learn their fucking place, amirite? And then they have the fucking audicity to say something negative about his almighty penis. Don’t they know you can only say shit about genitals attached to females? If it’s attached to a man, that’s just out of line. Thank gods you’re not like those other nasty females. Right?

    • Ashley

      That internalized misogyny sure is a bitch, isn’t it.

    • David

      Wow, you’re an awesome woman! You’re not like those other girls. I could treat you like dirt and make you my slutty little doormat and you’d be perfectly happy. I wouldn’t even have to do any work, you’d be falling all over yourself to keep your man. Awesome! Now go make me a sammich!

    • James McKaskle

      Suzie = Ben playing dress up. You need to apologize for being a sorry excuse for a shit bag.

    • Kate

      Seriously, in the comments of every article I read about sexism or racism or any other kind of prejudice, there is always at least one person who tries to turn the tables and make the people who are calling out hateful behavior seem just as bad, if not worse, than the person who is being hateful.

      I don’t care who you are or what gender you identify with, you don’t have the power to say who can or cannot be offended by something. You might think his article was hilarious, but that does not make it so, especially considering the fact that internalized misogyny still exists in women BECAUSE of the ways of thinking advocated by males such as Ben Cochran.

  45. The uproar centering around Ben’s published column is really a grotesque example of the over sensitivity that exists in today’s ever more politically correct, censorship happy culture.

    While the leaked version may have been offensive to some, the published material’s views on women were no worse than what you hear out of any right wing pundit’s mouth every 30 seconds. In fact, I recently found some other published material that is extremely offensive to women. I believe it was called “The Bible.” Actually, I’ve heard it is pretty popular, I had no idea. It contains such gems as:

    “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” (I Corinthians 11:8-9) or how about

    “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (I Corinthians 14:34-35)

    Really, grade ‘A’ misogyny right there. But I don’t see you all screaming about this transgression. Where’s the call for the resignation of Jesus Christ from his cozy position as our Lord and Savior?
    Yet, these examples portray their disdain toward women in utter seriousness. Ben’s article, on the other hand, was clearly scathingly satirical. The comparison with Jon Stewart is not a bad one. Though I would give Ben the benefit of the doubt, Stewart has openly used the N-word, R-word, and F-word(not the four letter variety) on his show. I might add that I don’t think those words, or any for that matter, are worth censoring, but I wouldn’t want to start another uproar of victims who had to read something mildly unpleasant. Those words, at the very least, represent actual “hate speech.” Nothing in Ben’s published material comes close. Unless you find words like “lady-bits” detestable, and heavy sarcasm so offensive that you cannot stand to hear or read it. And if by some misfortune that is the case, I take it you must spend most of your time with a blindfold on and your fingers in your ears.
    The idea that Ben was even legitimately advocating for the complete ban of birth control in a campus health facility is laughable. He was clearly advocating for the priority of people with immediate needs over those picking up preventative prescriptions. He simply used satire and took a hyperbolic stance to add emphasis. If the lines: “not even porn stars need that much birth control,” and “[...]sometimes you go to the doctor to get Pabst beer, or a pap smear, or something like that,” didn’t set your sarcasm detector to full, blood red, terrorist alert-level colors, I don’t know what will. Frankly, you should probably have it checked, I think it’s broken.

    • Lucy Gillam

      Or, possibly, maybe, it was really badly written, as might be evidenced by the fact that the supposed purpose was to answer “should birth control be distributed on campus,” not, “should immediate conditions be given priority over preventative care.”

      If Ben’s intention was to satirize, well, anything, really, he failed, badly. And if it was his intention, THAT is what he should have said in his apology, not, “well, like, this is just my opinion, man.”

      • Sally

        This. The editors and Ben continue to defend Ben’s writing as a valid counter point to the pro-birth control piece. “We felt that presenting both sides to the issue was important.” So as sad as this is we are left with no other option than to believe that this is Ben’s actual opinion because of the editors’ and Ben’s actual “apology.”
        Or are their apologies also satire? Perhaps if this does not blow over that can be their next excuse.

    • Ashley

      Is your argument seriously “this isn’t as misogynistic as other things that are also misogynistic”?
      It’s not an issue of oversensitivity. His comments were misogynistic. Period. In both the unedited AND published version–or did you forget that he likened gynecologists to pest control?
      And no, it wasn’t satirical. At all. He wrote it to make people angry. He basically said it himself in his “apology.” You cannot write trash just to make people angry and then be surprised when they get angry. And it didn’t even create this magical intelligent discourse that The East Carolinian thinks they created. The discussion wasn’t about the issue at hand, it was about the horribly offensive misogyny in his article.
      Whether or not he actually believes what he wrote is neither here nor there. He put it in the paper and paraded it as his opinion. It’s just as damaging either way.

    • Diana

      Okay, Lucy, Sally & Ashley, let’s not give credit where it isn’t due.

      This is obviously Ben writing to advocate on his own behalf. It’s a frickin’ sock puppet – and Jonathan Swift? Not even clever, Ben. There’s such a thing as a lie of omission. Writing under a pen name is fine. Writing under a pen name only to fluff yourself is dishonest.

      If this is Ben (not that I doubt that it is, but just being clear) you are a cowardly liar.

      Ben if you had any guts at all, you wouldn’t be hiding behind Jonathan Swift when you talk about how great you are & how much like Jon Stewart your creative genius is. We know you’re conceited. You’re not fooling me – and it’s very possible that you didn’t fool anyone & Lucy, Sally & Ashley were just bending over backward to give you the benefit of the doubt.

      As for sarcasm & satire, we know what sarcasm is, but sarcasm doesn’t automatically indicate satire. And if this were really satire, then you would be arguing for birth control to remain available on campus. The problem with believing that you might hold that position is that your contempt for women is so utterly clear. If you really had anything at all in common with Jonathan Swift, you would know that it *is* possible to satirize a position without being completely contemptuous of and dehumanizing toward the people on whose behalf you’re supposedly advocating.

      If you don’t understand that your writing reeks of contempt and malice, then your reading comprehension is utterly broken.

    • JR

      Couple of things here, Ben….

      One, you are nowhere near the satirist Swift was and trying to compare yourself to him reeks of hubris. Whatever your intent was, you came across as a mean-spirited no-talent hack trying hide a very real contempt of half our species under a thin veil of jocularity.

      Two, sock-puppetry is a great way to reenforce your growing reputation as a legendary asshole.

      • CM

        JR I don’t know who you are, but you definitely know how to call it. Ben Cochran or whoever he is currently pretending to be is hiding his hate behind what he thinks is great journalism. And no Ben, it isn’t great journalism

    • Lymie

      Yes, the Bible is a massive pile of misogyny that many of us have been complaining about for years. What is your point, now?

      • JR

        He’s trying more “satire”, and once again failing. One of his biggest failures here is assuming that _most_ of us hold the bible in some form of reverence, therefore the misogyny there in this holy text should shock us into silence about his own.

        Ben, Cupcake, it ain’t working.

  46. Fact Checker

    So Ben Cochran thinks that “The position I argued for is a valid opinion by virtue of the fact that it is an opinion.” So the mere holding of an opinion makes that opinion valid? Wow! Has this guy ever taken a course in critical thinking?

    • Lilly

      My opinion is that Ben Cochran is a misogynistic failure of a writer, and should under no circumstances be allowed into the nursing field. It must be fact!

  47. katz

    All of the students involved in this need to face real consequences for what they have done. No one should be able to avoid those consequences with a forced apology, especially apologies as horrible as were offered today.

    When are we going to here from the Dean of Nursing?

    • Kate

      My thoughts exactly! It’s almost as if our student newspaper doesn’t have to answer to any authority for the trash they’ve published.

  48. Logan

    “It is forbidden in The East Carolinian’s policy to allow anyone to see an unpublished composition” So then why did the editor send it to another person anyway, regardless of their employment? You fired the illustrator for sending it to someone but didn’t fire the editor who sent the unedited piece to the illustrator in the first place?? If what you were publishing was the edited version then you should have sent that one to the illustrator to illustrate! I am deeply disappointed that this has happened and the only consequence from the editors was a poor apology. And allowing Ben to post an apology that felt totally empty and sarcastic is disgusting! The paper should be ashamed and I am ashamed that this garbage is even distributed around campus. This paper could be educated and relevant and inspire students to be proud and involved with their school but instead publishes pirate rants shaming girls for their weight and opinions that are hateful and sexist.

  49. Anony

    A cold isn’t an immediate need, bro.

  50. John "Blu" Johnson

    Mr. Cochran,
    Your opinion, by advocating the vilification of the women of East Carolina, and the restriction of goods and services to a supported minority, is hate speech. This attempt to sweep your hate speech under the rug of satire, or good intention is not an acceptable action. You should be removed from your position at the paper and the “opinion” editor should step down for publishing your hate speech.

    An author can be provocative without being insulting or sexist. This issue could easily have been handled without insulting women. But by actively choosing to be insulting, you have made your hate speech the focus of the issue. Further, your assumption that this issue could only be discussed with vigor and passion if you insulted the women of East Carolina has not only made you the proverbial ass, but you have genuinely insulted the readership of the TEC and the total student body of ECU. Your hate speech has embarrassed this university on an international level.

    You have explained your initial intentions, you have even expressed sorrow that you used poor grammar in a particular case. However you have only expressed interest in giving a heartfelt apology. You have yet to actually say “I apologize” “I’m sorry” or any other iteration, followed by you accepting the actions you took as a mistake. So far you only admit to grammar issues and poor word choice. If you had attempted to make such a case here, it would have been a hollow gesture. This is evident by the public statements you have made, regarding this issue, on your facebook wall. You should learn to respect women as equals. You should be fired and the editor (Ms. Nurge) who allowed this hate speech to be published should step down.

  51. Anon

    That saddest part about this, is that if it was a woman hating on a man (look up the word misandry), nobody would have cared.

    • Ashley

      Really? That’s the saddest part? Are we really traipsing into “think about the poor menz” category here, Anon?
      Because I thought the saddest part was where, apparently, misogyny is covered and to that extent condoned in the newspaper under the all protective umbrella of “free expression” and that it’s totally okay to post bigoted things in our media. Because you know, all opinions, no matter how deeply rooted in bigoted views are “valid” right?
      Or the part where someone who works for a newspaper submitted a draft with the words “cunt problem” and “gaping hole” and didn’t get fired immediately.
      Yeah, women hating on men sucks, but it’s not as widespread as misogyny and it certainly isn’t a systemic problem like misogyny is.

    • Paul C

      Yes, a woman hating on a man as you describe would be terrible. Too bad for you thats NOT WHAT HAPPENED.

    • CM

      No I definitely would have stood up against it Ben. I won’t support hate against women OR men, but is this comment somehow supposed to divert our attention from the fact that from your mouth you spew hatred?

    • Tanya

      Hahahah, you think misandry is real. That would be so cute if it was so dumb.

  52. katz

    It’s also here. Titled, “The Most Misogynistic Thing You’ll Read This Week”:

  53. Emily Cochran

    To all of you who insist on getting your panties in a twist… it’s an opinion column. O-p-i-n-i-o-n. Humble or otherwise. Get a grip.

    • David

      Aw, he brought his mommy in to stand up for him. Ma’am, opinions are like assholes and I’m sure you know a lot about that, seeing as you raised one.

    • Marci

      Okay Emily with-the-unfortunate-last-name, I’ll bite. Exactly what contribution was Ben making to the discourse? His opinion, as printed, seems to be “girls shouldn’t get birth control at the student health center because it means I have to wait longer to be seen for my head cold.” We might just as well say “people who are too ignorant to know that there is nothing the student health center can do for their head colds should not waste said health center’s time.” It’s not quite the Lincoln/Douglas rhetorical sparring ground one would have hoped.

      Your brother lapsed into some deep-seated misogyny because his sense of entitlement couldn’t handle having to wait while other people were seen to. That’s all there is. Just a sociopath inconvenienced by the existence of other people.

    • Ashley

      Not all opinions deserve to be published in a newspaper–especially not blatantly misogynistic ones. Ben has every right to express his criminally idiotic and offensive opinions, yes. But that doesn’t mean that TEC should give him a platform to do it and then defend it under the guise of “free expression.”
      Does that mean that he can post a horrifically racist column next week with the same protection? Where is the journalistic integrity here?

    • Lara

      “It’s my opinion” is not a force field that protects you from the opinions of others.

      Ben insinuated that women who require birth control are sluts, and that birth control is the problem of women only.

      He then came here with a slimy (hey, just my opinion!) faux apology, and made a big point of not really apologizing at all.

      Words have consequences. He put his name on that sexist piece of garbage. Now he can reap what he’s sewn.

      • Ashley

        ““It’s my opinion” is not a force field that protects you from the opinions of others.”

        This this this. Thank you. What do people not understand about this?

    • JR

      And we are expressing our opinions in response, Emily-Ben’s-sister.

      Ben stuck his foot in it, big time. I know you love your brother and feel the need to defend him, but seriously….even if that piece was intended as satire, he really needs a good swift kick in the tuchus to dislodge his head from it.

    • Rey Fox

      Our opinion is that your brother is an asshole.

      Now since opinions are sacred and untouchable, then you better not argue this any further or you’ll be a big meanie head.

    • Ivy

      That is the beauty of the “free speech” that people such as your brother like to pull out when they’re spewing their hate all over the internet. He may be able to say whatever he wants, disgustingly sexist or not, but that doesn’t mean people can’t disagree, or judge him for being a misogynistic asshole, for that matter.

    • CM

      No Ben, an opinion column full of H-A-T-R-E-D and does NOT AT ALL fall under the category of Satire shouldn’t have been allowed to be posted. People should be able to say what they want to say, but when it is being said in a school newspaper that represents an entire student body of that school, it becomes MORE than just an opinion.

    • Lilly

      You seem confused. Let me explain it.

      Everyone is allowed to have an opinion. Everyone is allowed to share that opinion. However, once you share that opinion with the world, the world will respond. And the response is not always going to be something that you like. It being an opinion column doesn’t magically make your brother’s statements not misogynistic or horrible. Your brother’s opinion, whether real or not, is shared by a whole lot of people who think that women’s health concerns are somehow not as important as men’s health. Your brother’s opinion is a load of horse sh*t, basically, and the rest of the world is telling him that.

  54. Brittany

    Trying to spark a debate, eh? REALLLLLY? That’s all you can say?!?! !?!

    The East Carolinian and Ben Cochran are of the same breed – desperately vying for attention and willing to use any means necessary to attain popularity. Give me a break. What happened to journalistic integrity?

    To publish the word “cunt” in any newspaper is extremely tasteless, offensive, and disparaging. There is NO EXCUSE. It’s a shame an institutional paper would make such a poor judgement call!

  55. I am embarrassed for you Mr Cochran. I am disappointed in The East Carolinian. I really can’t believe you thought that was proper public conversation.

  56. Kendall

    Actually, Emily Cochran is his sister. Ben Cochran is just as lacking in knowledge of privacy settings as he is when it comes to contraceptives…and while we’re at it, how to be a decent human-being. That being said, this is for you Emily:

    “No, fuckwit, all opinions are not valid opinions. I have opinions about a great many things. Everyone does. But the ones that are valid follow certain criteria. ”

    your mom’s one lucky lady.

  57. Diana

    You three are not competent to run an opinion page. Let me address some specifics:

    1. ” If you agree with every column in every issue, you wouldn’t pick up the paper. ”

    What? Lots of people read things they agree with. The beauty of great reporting is that you agree with it – because it’s fact. How can you disagree that yellow is a color?

    So people read things they agree with all the time. Are opinions different? No. If you don’t know that, you really have no idea what sells a paper – and thus are not competent to run one. I know lots of people that read favorite authors, with whom they have no significant disagreements whatsoever, over and over again. A great opinion *is* one that you agree with…but that you didn’t know you agreed with until you read it. A great opinion column informs and persuades at the same time. The **entire freakin’ point** of an opinion column is to get you to agree with it. Writing something that people will disagree with just because people will disagree with it is idiocy.

    Write something that needs to be written for important reasons, and then publish it even though some/many people will disagree – that’s fine. Publishing idiocy because people disagree with idiocy and isn’t disagreement great? That’s just more idiocy.

    2. We published a contrasting opinion.

    People aren’t upset because Cochran advocated getting birth control off campus. If you don’t know that, then your reading comprehension is so pitiful as to rule you out as any sort of writer, much less an editor with content responsibility.

    3. “Both sides”

    First off, both sides is a red herring. Many issues have more than 2 sides – if’ you’re looking for “both” you’re going to fundamentally misunderstand much of what goes on in this world.

    Then there’s the fact that there is only one reasonable side to many things that we can imagine framed as a question or issue. Would you be willing to have as the question next week, “Should Ben Cochran be literally flayed alive over a period of several days until he dies of dehydration and shock for writing that piece of trash last week?” You really think that there are two reasonable sides to giving someone the death penalty for being a sexist jerk? Of course not. Neither are there two reasonable sides to some of what Cochran said. This is no longer about “both sides” of birth control access. In his piece – the one you thought worthy of publication – he asserts that when one is seeking hormonal birth control that one is **not** “in actual need of medical attention.” Really? Then why would we go to a medical specialist (gynecologist)? This isn’t even internally coherent.

    4. Focus on process.

    Kathryn Little wants to focus on process. She appears mortified that an unpublished version leaked. We haven’t been saying you need to reign in your tendency to e-mail pre-final versions of columns to friends. We’re saying that what you published was horrific and what you didn’t publish was worse.

    While some really, really horrible misogyny was cut from the initial version before publication, what editor looks at that piece and says, “There’s some good stuff in here, we’ll just need to edit it some”? Learn to write a frickin’ rejection letter. But then when you decided that you wanted to publish a version of that hateful screed, if you want to contribute to the campus discussion, you should publish something that contributes to the discussion. The published version is sneering (Pabst beer, porn stars), slut shaming (porn stars, “no one” needs X amount of birth control), self important condescension (Cochran’s cold is more important than anyone else’s needs) peppered with sexism (“girls,” “shifty females”) and, frankly, the most amazing ignorance of the issues on which he’s asserting competence.

    This is someone who says that “no one” goes to a “doc in the box” for birth control. First off, what does that even mean? I don’t know which providers are included in that description & which aren’t. Secondly, the one provider type that is clearly a “doc in the box” according to this column is student health…and Cochran clearly witnessed students going to a doc in the box, for birth control. One might imagine that Planned Parenthood is also a “doc in the box” since it’s a less personal clinic, and PP is the nation’s largest provider of birth control prescriptions. Thus, it is quite clear that Cochran simply doesn’t know what he is talking about on this issue.

    When you publish a column, it should, at bare minimum, be internally coherent. Cochran’s wasn’t. Second, it should add something to the discussion more than misinformation and prejudice. Clearly, Cochran’s didn’t. He had no reason that birth control shouldn’t be prescribed and provided on campus that wouldn’t apply to all services to women. He didn’t talk about the function of birth control, access to birth control, how it is used by students, or the ethics of birth control. What he discussed was that he wanted in faster. Hiring more staff would have gotten Cochran in faster. Refusing to serve women would have gotten Cochran in faster. Refusing to see anyone other than Cochran would have gotten Cochran in faster.

    So nothing in what he said made any arguments about birth control, and, as much as you tried to disguise it, a number of things that he said were clearly sneering toward women in general and women who dare to be sexually active specifically.

    If you don’t know the difference between a competent column, a column that addresses the issue, and one that isn’t and doesn’t, you don’t belong on the paper.

    Apology so not accepted. You don’t even understand why people are upset.

    Diana, Senior

    • Ashley

      This is hands down the best commentary I’ve seen. Thank you for this.

    • J

      *applause* Thank you for putting this so perfectly.

    • Heather

      Kathryn Little doesn’t run the opinion page. She’s public editor. Might want to do your research or read her job description before you accuse.

      • Diana

        Kathryn Little said:
        “To understand how the article’s integrity became compromised, it is important for one to acknowledge the publication procedure.”

        Kathryn Little published an “apology” above. On this very page. It’s the 2nd section of the tripartite OP.

        I said Kathryn Little wants to make this about procedure. She does. That’s what she said. Where in what I said above did I say that Kathryn edited Cochran’s piece? Where did I say she was responsible for accepting it.

        I’m not the one messing up here, you are. If Kathryn had nothing to do with this at all until she wrote what was above, I would have to change not one single word of what I wrote. I criticized what Kathryn said because she chose to represent the paper and what she wrote makes clear that the people at the paper are not competent to run it.

        Including her. Qualifications for running a paper don’t merely include not having made a mistake yet. It requires, among other things, reading comprehension. Kathryn spent her entire OP above writing about procedure as if procedure is what people are upset with. By doing so, she shows she doesn’t understand what people are writing.

        You might wanna read for comprehension before you accuse. Did you even realize that Kathryn Little is one of the 3 writers in the OP?

        • Heather

          Yes, I do understand that she was one of the people who wrote an apology but that’s her job description as public editor.
          All I said however, was that she did not “run” the opinion section as you said, and I’m right about that. Her position is reserved for correcting mistakes and smoothing over situations such as this. That is the reason she wrote an apology.
          You keep saying that she has no qualifications for “running” the paper and that, I say again, is not in her job description.

          So, as I said before, read her job description and maybe then you’ll understand that her job is not to edit articles, her job is to deal with situations like this.

          • Diana

            again, please find the sentence where I said that Little runs the opinion section.

            I don’t have a problem with including Little in the general critique that if one doesn’t understand one’s audience, one has no business running a newspaper. I have no problem with saying that Little’s statement above shows a clear misunderstanding of why people are upset. **No one** has been upset that an internal version leaked due to poor management of file distribution. Poor file distribution management has literally nothing to do with why people are upset.

            This could be a bad day on Little’s part. Little could have been asked to write this at the last second with no real knowledge of what was going on b/c she’s undergoing chemo right now. However, if this represents her actual ability to understand her audience, she has no business in a management position at a newspaper. Whether you like it or not, all editors have management positions. In fact, while some editorial positions might find understanding the audience to be less crucial than others, Public Editor is the one whose job it is to understand the readership and bring those concerns to the paper’s staff, and communicate the paper’s responses to those concerns to the readership. Thus the general critique that understanding readership is crucial to an editor is more applicable to the Public Editor position, not less.

            So, I stand by what I said. I clearly did not say what you assert – that I said that Little “runs” the opinion section. So what is your problem with what I wrote?

          • Heather

            “You three are not competent to run an opinion page”

            By generalizing the three of them you assumed Kat was involved with what runs in the opinion section.
            There’s the sentence for you.

          • tielserrath

            Blimey, Heather…

            …Quisling or what?

  58. Kenneth

    As an alumni of this university. It was not so much your opinion that was so disheartening. It is the fact that ECU graduates everywhere are harmed by your display of ignorance and the fact that the East Carolinian has horrible editorial practices. You should no longer be allowed to write for this paper. The editor of this paper should be fired, and who ever needs to take control of this so-called journalism to turn it into something at least academically or journalistic worthy needs to do so immediately. I’m fairly certain you have done way more damage to this university’s reputation than you’ll ever know. This non-sense became national blogged news, imagine being a new graduate and trying to get a job at a company the hiring manager just read this on the internet. We need to stop worrying about football teams, downtown laws, stupid gossip, and other non-sense and start making ECU into a place of intelligence and academics which it should be already!

  59. Marconi Darwin

    Hey Ben, no respect intended, but you remain a misogynistic bigot.

    try again

  60. Not Ben Cochran

    You all got trolled hard.

    • Lucy Gillam

      So he’s either a misogynist or he’s the kind of person who enjoys upsetting people by spouting misogynist language. Neither speaks well of him, and neither is the kind of person I would want to hire.

    • Rey Fox

      Please run along, the adults are talking.

  61. sfisher

    I guess Ben knows this little hate-filled opinion piece will follow him everywhere he goes from now on….good luck with that next nursing job. I especially liked all the Biblical references mixed in with the misogyny, that was a really nice touch. Makes me appreciate Christians all the more. If you think you were being smart, you need to be looked at. If you were being honest, you still need to be looked at. It’s really not healthy to despise women the way you do. Was it something your Mommy did?
    Or you just can’t get a date?

  62. Anonymoose

    This article has pretty much guaranteed that you will never have consensual sex with a female ever again.

    Haha owned.

  63. Matt

    I was willing to give the editorial staff of the East Carolinian the benefit of the doubt and was hoping to hear an apology with an excuse followed by promises to deal with Ben Cochran. Instead the response from the paper is basically an admission that the East Carolinian is happy to publish vulgar, misogynist hate speech and idiotic ranting. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  64. Reynard

    Your paper should be ashamed for not firing anyone who submitted such a hate-filled and incredibly offensive article, and for publishing the second version of that article, and for allowing one of your writers to publish such an insulting and openly-mocking “apology”. In the real world, people judge you by the company you keep. Your paper (and to a lesser degree, your university) will be judged by the character of this so-called writer, and by your tacit endorsement of his opinions, his misogyny, and his hatred.

  65. sfisher

    Did he really call a vagina a hatchet gash? Strange mind. More than a little scary.
    Personally, I have always liked vaginas. Hatchet gash does not really leap to mind.

  66. Sean

    Since the editorial staff at the East Carolinian is so committed to covering “both sides of the story,” how about exploring “both sides” of such crucial issues as whether those dang wimminfolk should be allowed to fill paid positions– say, as journalists or editors– when there are male candidates for that position that they could be making sammiches for? In fact, you can run a whole series of “debates” about why women should defer to men!

  67. Paul

    This whole episode (the publication and the no-pology) is a slap in the face that puts the perpetrators and your school’s school of nursing and newspaper in very bad light. The author and editors involved have shown themselves to be unworthy of employment at your school, or likely at any other professional institution (i.e. TV, newspaper or hospital etc.).

    I can’t believe how stupid Mr. Cochran was to write the article. He put his ignorance and hate speech on display for the world to see (forever), he insulted his fellow nursing students (who I assume are predominantly female) as well as most of his future (potential – now unlikely) employers and co-workers, all of your school’s alumni and really anyone who was unfortunate enough to have been exposed to his bile, and on top of it all, his own mother and sister. Nice going! Wow, talk about a wasted education.

  68. Ashley:

    “It’s not an issue of oversensitivity. His comments were misogynistic. Period. In both the unedited AND published version–or did you forget that he likened gynecologists to pest control?”

    It was my interpretation that he was likening abortionists to pest control. Saying “pest control or a gynecologist” does not imply they are one in the same. He would perhaps have worded it “pest control, also known as a gynecologist” had he meant that. He is clearly likening unwanted pregnancies, a “lady problem,” to pests. But then reading comprehension is clearly not your strong suit.

    I would also, once again, ask: What is misogynistic about the article, particularly? The use of the term “lady-bits” or “pest control” is hardly enough to warrant this kind of response. And I would say [female] porn stars are women too, so saying that term is derogatory is a bit hypocritical. Opinions are published every day by people that say young girls shouldn’t be given HPV vaccines because it will turn them into whores. Or that birth control shouldn’t be provided free with insurance for the same reasons. And in those cases, they are actually serious. Some people have these opinions, get used to it.

    “And no, it wasn’t satirical. At all. He wrote it to make people angry. He basically said it himself in his “apology.” You cannot write trash just to make people angry and then be surprised when they get angry. And it didn’t even create this magical intelligent discourse that The East Carolinian thinks they created. The discussion wasn’t about the issue at hand, it was about the horribly offensive misogyny in his article.”

    It wasn’t satirical? Are you serious? Do you really think Mr. Cochran goes around using “Zues’ Beard” as an exclamation?

    “Whether or not he actually believes what he wrote is neither here nor there. He put it in the paper and paraded it as his opinion. It’s just as damaging either way.”

    Again, it’s not damaging when anyone with a lick of credibility could tell it was not intended to offend but to entertain. The essay “A Modest Proposal”, something anyone with any legitimate education has read, discusses at length the idea of eating babies in order to alleviate the problems of the poor. Great detail on the economic and nutrional benefits are discussed, as are a number of methods of preparation. OBSCENE! Yet for some reason I was made to read this more than once in my high school career. Why? Because understanding the purpose of satire is a great thing, and not understanding its purpose is dangerous.

    Do you believe that Stephen Colbert means what he says? He belittles every minority on a nightly basis. But because we know he is simply a character being played by the actor Stephen Colbert, we allow it to pass. A quotes from his book reads,

    “Scientists have proven, one assumes, that every flaw in a child can be traced back to a mistake made by the mother. As adults we’re all imperfect, so that means all mothers are incompetent. But some mothers are worse than others. Take women who work… if you work outside the home, you might as well bring coconut arsenic squares to the school bake sale.”

    See what he did there? He belittled women, and then used a silly comparison to make sure the reader knew it was satire. Learn it, love it.

    Once again, for even further emphasis, Ben’s article was hardly misogynistic at ALL. All these uber-feminists create issues where there are none. Plenty of anti-men sentiments get thrown around, but there is hardly any response. Why? Because it’s not worth getting all hot and bothered over. On the other hand, the blatant ignorance that plagues these comments is. Get out of your hyper sensitive bubble for once. Have you even been on the internet before? Go visit 4chan and get a healthy dose of the human race.

    • Marci

      Dearest Gulliverian,

      Once again, I’ll bite. Let’s say I grant that Ben was engaging in a masterful bit of performance art wherein he intentionally became an object of ridicule to advance his point.

      I ask again. What was his point? What was this searing blast of erudite opinionating that was supposed to ignite a lively debate? That the student heath center shouldn’t offer birth control because it forces entitled little boys to wait to have their head colds diagnosed?

      Or was the whole head cold thing an elaborate ruse, another fake-out, because clearly any senior nursing student who isn’t a total degenerate knows that there’s nothing the student health center can do to treat a virus. Did he fake not knowing this to drive discussion about how well we’re educating our health care providers?

      Leaving aside the question of whether the column is clearly misogynistic (which it is), I ask you again and again and again: what was his contribution to the debate? What valuable argument did he put forward? Thusfar, the only debate that’s been generated is whether he’s a twerp, a sociopath, or both.

      • S. Schwartz

        I fear I’m on the wrong coast to offer it, but I believe it’s traditional to offer a beverage to the person who got to your point just before you — and you did, with “What was his point” again. Well done.

    • S. Schwartz

      “Go visit 4chan and get a healthy dose of the human race” <– As mentioned above, "Someone else is worse" is not really a valid defense against charges of *ist behavior.

      But more to the point: What was the satirical *point* of Mr. Cochran's little rant, since you seem so intent on making it into satire?

      Satire isn't "I exaggerate stuff and think it's funny!"

      Satire is "I take a position I find absurd, and extend it to show its absurdity to others."

      So, what's Cochran's point?

      (It is also worth noting that people like Colbert work in *context*, and we have none for Mr. Cochran.)

      Do you know what the appropriate thing to do is, if you write *bad* satire and offend people?

      Apologizing. Not just for your incompetence, but the fact that your incompetence hurt people.

      When you pick up the satirical blade, best be sure you know how to wave it about, lest you cut yourself and your bystanders.

      (Oh — and as a further aside, the fact that the editors cut out the most misogynistic parts (but by no means all of them) does not reflect well on Mr. Cochran.)

    • Diana

      Again, this is Ben Cochran, being a sockpuppet and a coward.

    • Ashley

      The article was not satire by virtue of it containing some sarcasm. Further, if he had meant it to be satirical he would have owned up to it being (poorly written) satire. And again, it was not intended to “entertain.” Cochran says it himself:
      “As an Opinion columnist, my primary goal is to generate informed discussion. To that end, I intentionally try to be provocative. As such, sometimes my columns offend people. Please understand that my intent was not to cause people to become enraged. I simply hoped they would disagree with the expressed opinion and state reasons for that disagreement.”

      He wrote it to cause controversy, but he did not write to be purposefully ironic. He wanted to stir up a discussion, but he was not winking at his audience the whole time as if to say “Isn’t this so ridiculous? How could anyone actually think like this?” The editors say it too. They maintain that his article was “one side of a debate”–not that his article was meant to be satirical. You cannot continue to hold on to the idea that this was meant to be satire when it plainly wasn’t. Though I do find it hilarious that you think that because I do not believe this to be satire that I do not understand what it is and lack the ability to enjoy it. Certainly, I don’t think Mr. Cochran says “Zeus’ Beard” as an exclamation, but that isn’t enough to indicate satire. And if this was really satire (which I don’t believe it is), then it was poorly written and highly ineffective and thus failed as a satire.

      As far as the misogyny goes, it is not merely his prose and word choice, but his assertions. He belittles the importance of women’s health, of pap smears and birth control, and treats these issues as being of no importance. He says outright that they are not “real” medical issues. This kind of attitude appears again and again in this country. I see it when politicians fight to close down Planned Parenthood clinics and restrict my reproductive rights. Women’s health is simply of no importance. And again, you will say that it doesn’t matter because it is meant to be satirical, but it appears that we are not going to agree on that one.

      Lastly, I’m truly amused with your closing paragraph. It is plain to me that you know nothing about the feminist community given your antiquated notion that we throw around “anti-men” nonsense. To be sure, misandry is not something to be condoned. However, it isn’t as prevalent in feminism as people are led to believe. But my favorite line in your response was your question about whether or not I’ve ever been on the internet. When in doubt, invalidate their response with the old “it’s only the internet” routine right?

    • CM

      no this definitely wasn’t satirism Ben and comparing yourself to any accomplished writer is ABsurd. and that was my valid opinion, since it IS an opinion in which I hold and therefore the only conclusion is that it is valid because I hold it.

  69. Annie

    Some other students and I have started a group on facebook titled “Hey, TEC, we want a REAL apology”. Join if you’re pissed. As single commenters, we have some collective force, but as an organized group we can better demand change.

  70. “I ask again. What was his point? What was this searing blast of erudite opinionating that was supposed to ignite a lively debate? That the student heath center shouldn’t offer birth control because it forces entitled little boys to wait to have their head colds diagnosed?”

    I already stated clearly his point was to entertain. As most anyone above who wasn’t part of the lynch mob stated, the published article was funny.

    “Or was the whole head cold thing an elaborate ruse, another fake-out, because clearly any senior nursing student who isn’t a total degenerate knows that there’s nothing the student health center can do to treat a virus. Did he fake not knowing this to drive discussion about how well we’re educating our health care providers?”

    Ignoring your conspiracy theories for a moment, the cold was clearly an example of something that was displaying symptoms. Birth control is by definition a preventative medicine. It regulates and makes more tolerable periods, and it helps prevent pregnancy. It cannot treat any immediate symptoms. Regardless of how arbitrary (and to that effect, no symptom is “arbitrary,” a cold is not always just a cold), someone with immediate symptoms deserves favor over a walk-in person picking up something such as birth control. The only reason there is so much controversy is because birth control is female specific.

    “Leaving aside the question of whether the column is clearly misogynistic (which it is), I ask you again and again and again: what was his contribution to the debate? What valuable argument did he put forward? Thusfar, the only debate that’s been generated is whether he’s a twerp, a sociopath, or both.”

    You “leave aside the issue” because there is none. THERE IS NO ISSUE WITH HIS COLUMN. FIND ONE FOR ME. Everyone keeps talking about this mysterious woman hate that simply does not exist. I would state that his intention was not to fuel dialogue but to entertain. If he did fuel dialogue it should be directed at the time it takes to get treatment at student health care. But instead I would just have a laugh and be on my way. To continue my previous example, if I want real news I’ll look for it. NPR, Huffington Post, what have you. I watch the Daily Show or the Colbert Report for entertainment. Similarly, I look to college opinion sections, which tend to be more edgy and biting than traditional print opinions, to be entertained.

    • S. Schwartz

      “His point was to entertain”

      Bzzt. Sorry. You lose.

      That’s not satire. That might be buffoonery. Of course, when it comes with a sharp edge used to cut at people lower on the privilege scale, it comes across as mean-spirited mockery. Using bad words (even if later edited out) is funny when you’re 6. Maybe even 13.

      “Someone with immediate symptoms deserves favor over a walk-in person…”

      Of course, nowhere is it stated that they walked in. Here; let’s try this one on:

      “I sat in the corner of the waiting room, my vision greying in and out as I used all of my upper-body weight to stanch the bleeding from my femoral artery. I tried, once again, to get the attention of the receptionist, but he said, as he’d said every time before that someone had walked in, with their hangnails, their small red spots that had been there ‘since last week, but I was too busy with classes to get them checked’, their prescription refills — “We’re sorry, but they were here first, and those are the rules.” And so I waited, as the blood soaked silently into the number I held in my hand. 45, it said, and they’d last called 31.”

      *That*, Mr. Swift, is satire objecting to a strict first-come-first-serve principle in healthcare. See the difference?


      1) It does not address the question allegedly being discussed.
      2) It makes wildly inaccurate assertions about the nature of, and reasons for, birth-control pill distribution.
      3) It’s not funny. It’s trite.
      4) It directly states, not even implies, that a half-hour of his time is worth more than the “gaggle”‘s time, independent of their health issues. Welcome to sexism.

      ” I would state that his intention was not to fuel dialogue but to entertain.”

      Well, then he shouldn’t be writing editorials; he can go tell his College Healthcare Horror Stories in comedy clubs or on his blog on the internet, and deal with the fallout there. Oh, and just for the record, to quote:

      “As an Opinion columnist, my primary goal is to generate informed discussion. ”

      So it would appear Mr. Cochran doesn’t agree with what you think his intention was, either. ;)

    • Diana

      “As most anyone above who wasn’t part of the lynch mob stated, the published article was funny.”

      Since the lynch mob, as you call anyone who critiques you, is pretty large, international even, and I haven’t seen anyone here saying the article was funny except Ben Cochran, your rate of people who think Ben Cochran-who-tries-to-get-away-with-sock-puppetry-as-Jonathan-Swift is funny to people who think he isn’t funny is asymptotically approaching a certain proportion, and it isn’t 100%.

      You know, something you ought to consider, Ben, is that funny things make the people who read/hear them laugh. By that definition, what you wrote is very far from funny.

      • JR

        He’s pretending that there’s a vast silent majority out there who were amused by his work and that only a few nutcases from the feminist edge are here tearing him a new one.


    • CM

      and Ben, if your Jonathan Swift then I’m Mother Teresa…

  71. “Go visit 4chan and get a healthy dose of the human race” <– As mentioned above, "Someone else is worse" is not really a valid defense against charges of *ist behavior.

    I would be inclined to agree, if the scales weren't tipped so heavily. You are comparing an article with extremely mild, a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, anti-women sentiments.

    "Do you know what the appropriate thing to do is, if you write *bad* satire and offend people?

    Apologizing. Not just for your incompetence, but the fact that your incompetence hurt people."

    This is just incorrect. Bad is relative and offending people is the name of the game in entertainment today. The late George Carlin once said "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." People are offended by everything they see today. Do you think J. K. Rowling needs to apologize for Harry Potter because it offended Bible thumping loonies? Likely not. While her work is not satire, it offends many nonetheless. Unfortunately, the majority of the people represented here are no different than those same loonies.

    "(Oh — and as a further aside, the fact that the editors cut out the most misogynistic parts (but by no means all of them) does not reflect well on Mr. Cochran.)"
    This point is irrelevant because it wasn't published material.

    • Diana

      Of course it reflects poorly on Mr. Cochran that he ***tried*** to publish things even more misogynistic than actually made it through editing.

      That point isn’t irrelevant, Ben-sock-puppeting-as-Jonathan-Swift. S Schwartz is commenting on your character, not the published article. If Schwartz said it didn’t reflect well on the article, the point would have been invalid. Schwartz said it didn’t reflect well on **you**. Your behavior is reflective of your character. The fact that you do your most repulsive writing when you think you won’t get caught *does* mitigate the damage somewhat, but it does not negate the fact that these are actual thoughts you think, actual words you consider worthy of writing down. The fact that there are multiple other things to consider when judging you does not mean that the things you would like not to be held against you don’t count at all.

      That was a scumbag piece of writing. The fact that you couldn’t get it past the editors doesn’t make it not a scumbag piece of writing.

      Deal with the fact that you think it’s okay to say things that other people find horrifically rude and sexist. You may love to think of yourself as not-sexist, you may love to think of yourself as hilariously funny. But in the real world, you don’t have the only opinion that counts. We get to make up our minds about you using any evidence we find appropriate and relevant.

      Take responsibility for your own actions and you will be able to provide some evidence that you are not as scummy as your writing. Saying don’t judge me by something that I did because…well, because I didn’t want you to know that I did it – that doesn’t help your case at all.

    • Josephus

      Screw you for invoking George Carlin. I’m a huge fan of George Carlin, I’ve met George Carlin, and you, sir, are no ****ing George Carlin.

      He also said “What’s important is how you construct the joke, and whether or not the joke is funny”.

      And don’t hide behind, “It wasn’t published material.” Because it was published. You sent it to an editor in that form. The fact that someone was supposed to save you from calling a woman’s vagina a “hatchet wound” is just pathetic.

  72. sfisher

    @Johnathon Swift,
    You didn’t see any misogyny in Ben’s little pretend rant? What about the part where he calls any woman on birth control “preemie sluts” who are engaging in “harlotry”? Or the part where women on birth control are of a “base and carnal nature”, and are “sex mongers” and members of the “oldest known profession on earth” and “sultry sex fiends”. How about the part where he identifies women as “sluts” with their “gaping holes” or, rather, “hatchet wounds”.
    How about the entire premise of the article being that women’s reproductive health issues, or as he so delicately puts it, “cunt problems”, have no place on a college campus, as though the thought of women’s health is disgusting and of no concern, and really just a waste of his precious time, because women are really less than human.
    And satire? Not. Entertainment? Not. Funny? Not. You and Ben are both idiots.

  73. “His point was to entertain”

    Bzzt. Sorry. You lose.

    That’s not satire. That might be buffoonery. Of course, when it comes with a sharp edge used to cut at people lower on the privilege scale, it comes across as mean-spirited mockery. Using bad words (even if later edited out) is funny when you’re 6. Maybe even 13.
    Funny, you yourself admitted Colbert was a satirist. Yet I would also call him an entertainer. Bzzt. Sorry. You’re a hypocritical idiot.

    “I sat in the corner of the waiting room, my vision greying in and out as I used all of my upper-body weight to stanch the bleeding from my femoral artery. I tried, once again, to get the attention of the receptionist, but he said, as he’d said every time before that someone had walked in, with their hangnails, their small red spots that had been there ‘since last week, but I was too busy with classes to get them checked’, their prescription refills — “We’re sorry, but they were here first, and those are the rules.” And so I waited, as the blood soaked silently into the number I held in my hand. 45, it said, and they’d last called 31.”

    *That*, Mr. Swift, is satire objecting to a strict first-come-first-serve principle in healthcare. See the difference?”

    Actually that’s just bland. See, satire needs to be edgy. But yours is not. It doesn’t catch my attention. Unless there are some minor transgressions of common etiquette, it doesn’t work. Eating babies works as satire, because it is so absurd and offensive.


    1) It does not address the question allegedly being discussed.

    Outright false.

    2) It makes wildly inaccurate assertions about the nature of, and reasons for, birth-control pill distribution.

    There is nothing wildly inaccurate as much as wildy exaggerated.

    3) It’s not funny. It’s trite.

    Opinions. They differ. I would say yours are worse than Mr. Cochran’s. I found it funny.

    4) It directly states, not even implies, that a half-hour of his time is worth more than the “gaggle”‘s time, independent of their health issues. Welcome to sexism.

    A half hour time of a waiting sick person is worth more than a half hour wait time for 5 non sick people.

    “So it would appear Mr. Cochran doesn’t agree with what you think his intention was, either. ;)”
    I’m sure he would agree with your interpretation much more.

    • Ryan F Stello

      “A half hour time of a waiting sick person is worth more than a half hour wait time for 5 non sick people.”

      A half hour of wait time for 5 non-sick people wanting to prevent being “sick” is more than a half-hour wait time for some pretentious, self-absorbed asshole who doesn’t understand that he can’t be helped by much.

      Any doctor or nurse worth his/her degree knows that preventative care should be welcomed and encouraged.

    • S. Schwartz

      OK. Let’s try this one last time, Mr. Swift.

      1) Colbert is a satirist and an entertainer. Cochran didn’t manage satire. Satire gets a pass on things that entertainment by itself doesn’t.

      I am amused by how you get “hypocritical” from this.

      2) Well, considering I improvised that rather than expecting someone to publish it in a newspaper, I don’t claim it’s great satire. It does, however ,exaggerate to a clear effect. I don’t claim to be able to improvise things equal to some of the best satire ever written. ;)

      It was, however, directed at a cler target without making any pointless generalizations that don’t affect groups that aren’t the target. Got it?

      You can be anti-birth-control without coming across as anti-woman. Mixing the two dilutes your point.

      (See above about *bad* satire.)

      And as for the bullet points:

      Explain how it addressed the issue, other than “Waah, it makes people wait for things!”

      As has been pointed out earlier, “Enough birth control for 36 months” and ignoring many of the reasons people might need/want it is not “exaggerating”, it’s *wrong*. Error of type, not degree.

      De gustibus non disputandem est, I suppose.

      And, finally, it’s not an emergency room. It’s a walk-in clinic. With people who, guess what? Walked in before him. Whining at the time? Annoying, but OK. Whining later? What’s the point? Should they have kicked those people out in the middle because OMG, somebody came in with a cold? Instant override triage, is that what you want?

  74. ARL

    We all await your future career with interest.

    Walmart greeter, perhaps?

  75. “You didn’t see any misogyny in Ben’s little pretend rant? What about the part where he calls any woman on birth control “preemie sluts” who are engaging in “harlotry”? Or the part where women on birth control are of a “base and carnal nature”, and are “sex mongers” and members of the “oldest known profession on earth” and “sultry sex fiends”. How about the part where he identifies women as “sluts” with their “gaping holes” or, rather, “hatchet wounds”.
    How about the entire premise of the article being that women’s reproductive health issues, or as he so delicately puts it, “cunt problems”, have no place on a college campus, as though the thought of women’s health is disgusting and of no concern, and really just a waste of his precious time, because women are really less than human.
    And satire? Not. Entertainment? Not. Funny? Not. You and Ben are both idiots.”

    He didn’t say a single thing like that in his article. Learn to read before having big boy conversations.

    • Annie

      It was in the original. Editing it out doesn’t make it magically disappear from ever being written.

    • David

      Grow a uterus before you start telling the women what they should think.

    • JR

      Ben, you’re in a hole up to your neck and yet you still. Keep. Digging.

      Here’s an idea: put the sock-puppets away and practice the words “Folks, I made a mistake. I was wrong to write this; I intended it to be sarcastically funny, but the end result was highly inflammatory and insulting. I’m sorry.”

      You know, act the part of a mature, responsible human being who owns his mistakes and learns from them instead of an entitled little brat who can’t admit he bolluxed up and has to keep doubling down on the idiocy.

    • Bruce McGlory

      Ben, stop making up sockpuppets to pretend you didn’t write exactly what you did write. Grow up, come out of the closet and STFU.

  76. Roxy

    sounds like it’s time for a google-bomb. What should we pick?

  77. Madigan

    Apology not accepted. Ben Cochran is obviously an unrepentant ass who is only “apologizing” because he got called out.

    And the editors should be ashamed of themselves. There’s a difference between presenting both sides of the issue and publishing a hateful, misogynistic rant and pretending it’s news.

    I pity Mr. Cochran’s future patients.

  78. bob

    what a bunch of non-apology apologies from a misogynistic asshole and incompetent editorial staff. Fortunately, the internet doesn’t forget such things, and your potential future employers will have ample evidence of your journalistic incompetence.

    Shame on Mr. Cochran, shame on the editors, and shame on ECU.

  79. Patrick

    Having sullied the reputation of both your paper and your university, you still stand behind your decision to publish Cochran’s idiotic piece? It’s apparent that the faculty advisor has grossly overestimated the competence and intelligence of The East Carolinian’s editorial staff, who obviously require further instruction and greater supervision.

  80. Lymie

    Hey, the headline in this paper is that Dan Savage is going to be at ECU, maybe we can clue him in to the goings on. Didn’t he invent Santorum as a google bomb? What could COCHran be?

  81. craigmont

    You children really pooped your pants on this one, and you’ve failed to clean up the mess. Hope there are some grownups around, you’re gong to need them.

  82. Mick

    Soo…calling a women’s vagina a “hatchet wound” is “generating informed discussion”. What’s next on the list of informed discussion generation? Gassing Jews, hanging African Americans or killing gay people?

  83. Kailey

    Thanks for the fauxpology, Ben. It’s so nice to know that you don’t give enough of a rat’s ass to even be sincere.

  84. Alexandra Erin

    First of all, where in all this talk about the “in-depth” nature of the editorial process is there any addressing of the fact that Ben Cochran is manifestly not qualified to write a column? I outlined several egregious errors of diction (i.e., words that do not mean what he thinks they mean) that made it through the “in-depth” editing. Leaving aside his multiple failings as a man and a human being, his only skill as a writer seems to be his access to the thesaurus feature of and half of the literacy needed to understand its results.

    Second of all, the editors of this paper do themselves, their school, and the whole field of journalism a tremendous disservice by hewing to this mistaken notion of a “balanced” approach. This was showing “both sides of the issue”? No. You had one person offering an informed opinion in a reasonably well-written piece and you had one person defecating on the lawn and you decided for reasons you have yet to explain at any level to put your MASTHEAD over them both.

    Ben, if you think all opinions are equally valid then why bother holding yours? Decide you suck. Decide I’m awesome. Decide everybody is entitled to healthcare but you. All these opinions are as good as yours, so why not embrace them?

    Editors, if you think that all views are equally valid then you have abdicated your authority as editors and declared this rag to be a bulletin board free for the public use.

    Show some integrity. You committed a hate crime against half your readership, half the population of the world. Step up and admit it.

  85. I figure everyone else has taken care of the misogyny in Ben’s editorial, so I thought I’d point out some other stuff in his “apology.”

    First, no, you’re not trying to create informed discussion, and you say so in your apology. You’re trying to provoke, which never creates informed discussion – it creates emotional responses and tends to limit rational discussion.

    Second, your opinion is not valid just because it’s an opinion. If that were true, the word valid in the phrase “valid opinion” would carry literally zero meaning.

    More on both of those points here:

    • Alexandra Erin

      Yes, yes, to all of this. To create an informed discussion, he would have needed to offer some information.

  86. Thank you, East Carolinian, for allowing sexism to continue unpunished in this town. You aren’t standing up nobly for the freedom of the press, you are condoning a viewpoint that isn’t any different than racism and enabling the oppressive rhetoric of the writer who expressed those views. As a citizen of Greenville, I am once again disappointed in the inability of this town to treat itself with the respect it deserves. Thanks a lot.

  87. Alexandra Erin

    Ben Cochran doesn’t even believe in what he wrote.

    So why was it printed?

    This is a story that was terribly written from a technical standpoint. It is a story that is terribly offensive and which does active harm to the student population of Eastern Carolina University. It is a story that was written from a terribly misinformed viewpoint. It is supposed to be an opinion piece but its author has admitted he doesn’t hold this opinion.

    Why does this piece exist? What did it add to the paper? I’d like to hear the staff offer some actual justification, because all they can come up with is “Well, that’s just like, his opinion, man.” and it’s not even that.

  88. To the staff of the East Carolinian,
    The issue was never about how the original manuscript got leaked. The issue was about how you allowed a misogynist to write for the paper, even after “cleaning” up his article. It has nothing to do with standing by an unpopular view.
    You stand behind this “show both sides of the argument” sort of opinion writing, as if there are only ever two sides. Are you “learning” from Fox News now? It is often deeper than a black and white issue. There might be some serious issue not being addressed regarding birth control, I don’t know. The “dissenting” view point should not be included if it includes personal insults to half of the human population in the original draft, and still resonating the edited one.
    No justice was done by his “apology” either. He basically took another swing at women, by claiming the issue was using the word “conscientious” when he really meant “conscious”. The staff should have realized this was in no way a heartfelt apology. He has upset many people here on campus; he has given a bad name to the university, and its nursing program.

  89. To the staff of the East Carolinian,

    The issue was never about how the original manuscript got leaked. The issue was about how you allowed a misogynist to write for the paper, even after “cleaning” up his article. It has nothing to do with standing by an unpopular view.

    You stand behind this “show both sides of the argument” sort of opinion writing, as if there are only ever two sides. Are you “learning” from Fox News now? It is often deeper than a black and white issue. There might be some serious issue not being addressed regarding birth control, I don’t know. The “dissenting” view point should not be included if it includes personal insults to half of the human population in the original draft, and still resonating the edited one.

    No justice was done by his “apology” either. He basically took another swing at women, by claiming the issue was using the word “conscientious” when he really meant “conscious”. The staff should have realized this was in no way a heartfelt apology. He has upset many people here on campus; he has given a bad name to the university, and its nursing program.

  90. Crow Meris

    –”As an Opinion columnist, my primary goal is to generate informed discussion.”
    You failed.

    –”I simply hoped they would disagree with the expressed opinion and state reasons for that disagreement.”
    You did not offer an opinion worthy of discussion. You offered nothing but your disdain of women and your sense of entitlement.

    –”The position I argued for is a valid opinion by virtue of the fact that it is an opinion.”
    No. I will leave you with some words from a good writer, an intelligent writer; a writer who leaves his readers uncomfortable yet enriched:
    “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” ~Harlan Ellison

  91. Eleanor

    As non-apologies go, this has to be one of the worst. A generation of politicians has taught this boy well, unfortunately. This is one of those inflammatory “sorry”s which denies all responsability for what the author said and lays the blame on the people who took offence.

    Sorry and all, but someone in this sorry mess has to take a hard line and demonstrate that they do know the difference between excusable teenaged drivel and hate-speech. You can let the kids throw poo at each other in the playground only for so long before an adult has to step in an explain (for their own sake as much as for others) what boundaries are. The East Carolinian has shown that they can’t do it, maybe time for the College itself to step in.

  92. sfisher

    The only reasonable explanation for printing Ben’s column is that someone wanted to see young Ben crash and burn.

    • CM

      Actually, I think that everyone involved KNEW the outburst it would cause and were hoping for the attention, albeit negative attention. They think its stimulating or perhaps they feel successful for what they’ve caused. I think its definitely becoming apparent that all of the people involved at TEC are grossly overated for their positions. I feel disgusted if the University as a whole supports them for their decisions. By the University as a whole I mean the Dean of Nursing, the Chancellor…etc. The articles and their no-pologies are NOT journalism, they’re trash. And the scary part is that they are reveling in it.

  93. Ross Balmer

    I really hope for your sakes that you don’t care how the rest of the world sees you over there at ECU. How you could have published such a hateful article in the first place (I do not use the word “hateful” lightly BTW, do I even need to quote its colorful vocabulary?) and how you can publish such a shameless not-pology is beyond me. Or do you not understand the concept of “shame” unless it is appended to the word “slut”? Surely there are grounds for multiple-sackings here. I’d think about that if you care at all about your reputation. Also, I would shudder to think that if I went to hospital I might be treated by such a person as Mr Cochrane, let alone my female relatives. It would be like being treated by a member of the KKK, quite honestly it makes my skin crawl.

  94. Anonymous

    PZ Meyers wrote a great update on his international blog:

    The East Carolinian has published excuses for their lapses in judgment for publishing the appalling exercise in misogyny by Ben Cochran. The editors are all utterly reprehensible.

    Kelly Nurge claims it was OK to publish it, because they also published a rebuttal, and “presenting both sides to the issue was important.” She has a bright future ahead of her in he-said/she-said journalism. But you know, sometimes the two sides to an issue are bugfucking pustule-popping insane vs. rational coherent normality. Did the East Carolinian really need an article recommending that women’s reproductive health ought not to be supported by campus medical services because it gets in the way of Ben Cochran’s priority snot-blowing? Is this really an issue that anyone takes seriously anywhere on the freakin’ planet?

    Kathryn Little claims that the “editing process is an in-depth one”, and is mainly peeved that an unedited version of Cochran’s piece was released — you know, the one that called a woman’s genitalia a “hatchet wound”, rather than the infinitely more genteel “lady-bits” that was in the edited version. Content, irrelevant; following the official process, essential. Then she seems quite pleased that her paper got national attention. Yeah, there’s another one on the fast-track to a journalism career…Rupert Murdoch has his eye on her, I’m sure.

    And lastly, there’s Ben Cochran. This is supposedly an apology. It’s a sneering, sarcastic bit of badly written bombast pretending to be an apology.

    Often, campus newspapers are almost fully independent — students are just handed the responsibility of putting a paper together with minimal faculty supervision. Sometimes, they end up wallowing so deep in juvenilia and irresponsible scribbling that it’s clear that they do need some more mature guidance, especially when they drag the reputation of a place like East Carolina University into disrepute. Have these students had any training in journalism? Or is this what passes for responsible journalism at ECU?

    Offending people is fine when you’ve got a purpose and a goal behind it. I fail to see anywhere in Cochran’s whiny rant any reason or justification for regarding women with such contempt. It is true that his opinion that women are sluts, harlots, sex mongers, and sex fiends is actually an opinion, but usually in an opinion column you’re expected to defend your controversial position, not just assume it as given.

  95. Bruce McGlory

    So, some whiny, entitled misogynist had to wait! a! few! minutes! at a healthcenter and blamed it all on women at the clinic, whom this whiny, entitled misogynist clearly thinks are disgusting creatures (come out of the closet, Ben. Its okay to not want to sleep with women. Its not necessary to hate them because you don’t). And some stunningly incompetent editors printed his psychotic, unhinged hate speech and then defended it as “both sides of an issue”? Since when is whiny entitled bigotry a valid opinion?

    If this is the level of intelligence of the students at this college, I’m definitely not allowing my kids to apply there.

  96. Joel

    It is obvious Cochran hasn’t learned a single thing from this situation and will never learn. When are the responsible adults at ECU going to step in and fix this situation?

  97. Bree

    I think somebody finally realized that having him apologize here (the newspaper) and having him gloating on his facebook didn’t send the right message, he’s deleted all of his recent wall posts about how some people didn’t like his article, how it was unpopular and to keep the hate mail coming.

    Ben- People weren’t mad that you used the word “conscientious” and not “conscious,” they were mad that you used sexist and misogynistic terms like “cunt” and “hatchet wound” in you first draft. By addressing only that word choice issue in your apology and not the larger issue of your sexist language, message and overall demeanor, you are belittling your readers by implying that they won’t be able tell that your apology is obviously not genuine.

    Editors- Saying that is was okay to publish Ben’s article because a rebuttal article was offered is hardly an excuse. First, the author of the accompanying article didn’t seem to have had the opportunity to have read Ben’s article and therefore didn’t actually address any of his so called “points.” Second, as many others have brought up, just because you have another article representing the supposed other side (I say supposed because the other article didn’t address anything that Ben wrote about and there), doesn’t make publishing a sexist diatribe acceptable.

    Had Ben’s article been written about disabled people and how he hates getting stuck behind them when walking because they take forever, take up a bunch of space and how they shouldn’t be outside in the first place (in the same vein of his stance that women shouldn’t be having premarital sex because they will go to hell as seen in his unedited version of his article) would it have been ethical to publish it? Had Ben’s article been written about how he hates waiting behind Muslims at airport security and that they shouldn’t be allowed to fly on airplanes would it have been ethical to publish the article? Had Ben’s article been written about how he hates getting stuck at a checkout at the grocery store where “retards” (Let’s face it, if he doesn’t have any qualms about using the word “cunt” in his article, he certainly won’t mind “retard” in the slightest) are the cashier and how he hates the fact that he is inconvenienced by how long it takes would it have been ethical to publish the article? No, of course it wouldn’t have been published. Why should a hateful, obviously sexist, article about women be any different? Had his article targeted another minority group (such as disabled individuals (mentally or physically), Muslims, Blacks etc.) would the article have been published? No, of course not. I ask the editors, why is an article like this any different?

    Ben should be ashamed that he composed this article, but based on his now deleted facebook posts he isn’t. The editors of the East Carolinian should be equally ashamed as well for publishing- and passively condoning the article’s message by publishing Ben’s joke of an apology- such a hateful article towards women.

    On another note, doesn’t the East Carolinian have fact-checkers? Shouldn’t they have noticed the glaring medical inaccuracies in Ben’s article and corrected them before the paper went to bed? Hell, even my high school’s newspaper had fact checkers.

  98. Star

    “informed discussion”

    Then, Ben, shouldn’t this mean that you are also informed on what you are attempting to write about?

    You are disgusting and should be ashamed. As should this rag for printing that piece of hateful trash. Also, your opinion? Was nothing more than hateful misogyny.

    I do not accept this faux apology, not at all.

  99. Melissa

    I’m still waiting to find out when the deans will actually let us know whether they disapprove of this article. I’m still assuming that their silence is approval. Has anyone heard otherwise?

    • Dark Horse

      No. They are considering his status @ ECU. He may suffer the consequences. While not the best op ed piece ever written, he is protected by free speech under the 1st Amendment. No one said you had to be smart or less than stupid to express your opinion. He was free to write whatever he wanted. Now, he may pay a price. Folks were offended, but does that warrant dismissal from ECU? To my knowledge, no one has ever died from embarrassment. What’s more important? Uphold the rights of the United States of the Offended or his right to free speech?

      • Mina

        Please, go learn about the first ammendment before you continue down this train of thought. It doesn’t guarantee that you can say whatever you want without consequences.

      • Ducky

        It may warrant dismissal from ECU because, by printing it in the school newspaper, it reflected horrendously on the university’s reputation. You don’t keep a liability like that around.

        “Oh, Mr. Horse, I see you graduated from ECU? Isn’t that the misogynist place?”

        Hence, swift and fitting punishment for Ben Cochran.

      • Amii

        He is not free from the consequences of his speech. He informed the public of his despicable attitude toward women and his abysmal knowledge of medical practices, and he has definately harmed the university’s reputation. I really don’t know if he should be expelled, but he should change his degree. I would never knowingly be treated by someone with his attitude toward my gender.

        However, the editors that allowed this to be published and then defended it so stupidly should not be forgotten. They are just as responsible for the piece that so clearly should have remained in the editorial trashbin.

  100. A Hermit

    This was more like a collection of lame excuses than an apology.

    The problem here isn’t that an unpublished rough draft of the article was leaked; the problem is that the published version is no less offensive and poorly written than that rough draft. It contains fewer “naughty words” but the sentiments expressed and the weak, stupid argument presented are the same.

    If you’re really feeling apologetic try again. And this time, instead of trying to justify the mistake, just say “We made a stupid mistake and we’re very sorry.” That would cover it.

  101. G

    “Unfortunately, my word choice was not the best. I cannot believe I said “conscientious” when I really meant “conscious,” among other things. From now on, I will take greater care to exercise better judgment. ”

    Wow. It was bad enough that the paper published the first essay, now they are publishing what is not a thinly veiled, but not veiled at all big F*** YOU to the people who were offended. Do the editors really think so little of their readers to think we wouldn’t think this apology is just his self-satisfied attempt to rub salt in the wounds? Or is their reading comprehension too low to see it themselves?

    The editors should be kicked off this paper, Benny should be denied a nursing degree and the university should apologize to the campus for allowing a hostile environment and disgrace to the name of the school as well as to the rest of the world who have read this disgusting hate filled diatribe and its “apology” for overwhelming us with rage, disgust and possibly a sense of intimidation that a school would allow such demeaning language.

    Guess what, Benny, many of the clinicians at student health are women or people who care about women so hopefully you don’t ever need your worm inpected. Your oozing tool will be in their hands.

    • alexis

      He won’t be outrightly denied a nursing degree but you can certainly see that as long as the internet lasts he will have to explain this to his employer, and I am doubtful he would even be hired.

      He has shot himself not in the foot, but in his tiny lil nutsack.

  102. Sharon

    Just because speech is protected under the first amendment (and his was) does not mean that that same speech should have a published platform. Otherwise, you will now have to give that same public platform over to the racists, xenophobes, and homophobes in your area. The article was poorly written (and edited!), it was poorly thought out, poorly articulated, and a huge mistake on the part of the editorial staff. Just admit that you did not engage good judgement. Not every decision you make in life is going to be correct. Your policy of not “leaking” (?) draft copy is not at issue. Your decision to publish an ignorant, sexist, and stupid rant IS.

    To the leadership of ECU: You have a huge problem here, and it is not going to just go away. You need to address your tolerance policies immediately and engage in an educational program to teach your students about said tolerance. You need to address the lack of professional oversight at your school’s paper. The editorial staff was allowed to fail in an amazingly stupid fashion quite publicly. Now your school is tarnished with this stupidity that could have been prevented if you had some better guidelines for your student paper. Is there anyone at the School of Journalism who even looks at the thing before it’s printed? I would start there, were I you. Get together as a leadership team and act on this issue sooner rather than later.

  103. G Hansen

    Ben Cochrane, You’re just a simple, self-absorbed scumbag. The reason you are sitting back stroking yourself in joy at your cleverness is easy to figure out…with your head that far up your own ass, the view is very narrow. About the width of your belly button.

    Someday, a long time from now, after your fourth or fifth abusive, failed relationship, I hope you’re lucky enough to look in a mirror and weep at what a piece of garbage you are.

  104. Jennifer

    As an employee of ECU and an alum, I’m embarrassed that this garbage was printed in the student newspaper. This kid should be ashamed of himself and I hope someone sent a copy of this to his mother. I’m sure she’d be really proud. And to the female students at ECU – please do not date this guy! He is trash.

  105. Joel

    “Folks were offended, but does that warrant dismissal from ECU?”

    Actually, yes. Attending a university is a privilege and Mr. Cochran has clearly demonstrated that he has not earned that privilege by dishonoring himself, the university paper and the university. The university has a responsibility to protect its reputation.

    Freedom does not mean freedom from consequences.

  106. katz

    Who’s the faculty advisor for this “fine” paper? Paul Isom? I would guess that he would have been involved after the outrage from publishing Cochran’s drivel. I can only conclude that he approved the publishing of those faux-pologies from the students.

    Paul Isom is listed as TEC Advisor on the contact page:

  107. Adam R.

    This you call an apology?

    Sorry, it won’t do. You should have apologized for not recognizing that miserable. misogynistic screed for what it was and refusing to publish it in the first place.

    “Not-pology” not accepted.

  108. Mina

    When are some adults going to get involved with this situation?

  109. Melissa

    lol Have you Googled “Ben Cochran Nurse”? I’m sorry for any nurses named Ben Cochran.

  110. Erin

    No one should have to apologize for their opinions but something should be said about the offensive use of language toward women. I’m disgusted that a defensive stance was immediately taken without addressing the TRUE issue with this argument. The language was purely offensive and sexist. Argue for SHS to stop providing birth control all you want but at least make your argument INTELLIGENTLY and act like an ADULT.

    As for you Mr. Cochran, I think this issue of word choice should be the LEAST of your worries. “Unfortunately, my word choice was not the best. I cannot believe I said ‘conscientious’ when I really meant ‘conscious,’ among other things.” I sincerely hope you aren’t as sexist as you sound. I hope you currently have a girlfriend because I’m pretty sure you’ll never get laid at ECU again.

  111. Kim Fleming

    The “rebuttal” wasn’t a rebuttal at all. Yes, it was a contrasting opinion… but it was only the rebuttal that even established a real argument, as opposed to a misogynistic rant full of weak jokes. In order to be a real rebuttal, it would have needed to have argue with some salient and rational points that were posted in the first “opinion.”

    Ben Cochran is full of it when he says his main goal is to inspire informed discussion. Not a thing he said in the opinion piece was informed. He could have taken a stance against birth control being distributed on campus that was actually an informed and insightful opinion (albeit, one with which I would still have disagreed) but he didn’t take that route. AND the fact that the word choice he is upset about is using “conscientious” instead of “conscious” is ludicrous, consider the offensive language he did choose to use.

  112. Lauren

    To the editors: Your apology is not sufficient. There is nothing wrong with printing opinion pieces. However, one can state their opinion without going out of their way to be assholes about it. Ben is entitled to his opinion, but he went above and beyond giving his “opinion” to being flat out offensive to women.
    To Ben: Why did you even bother to apologize? Your apology wreaks of sarcasm…you are apologetic for your word choice of “conscientious” and not “conscious”? And if you didn’t honestly feel what you said in your opinion, you should never have put it into print. There are other ways to generate discussion without being as offensive as you were.

  113. Dan Brown

    This is a poor excuse for an apology for the East Carolinian’s hate-filled, misogynist laden article on birth control and women’s health. You did publish a rebuttal, but it was a fraction of the length given to Cochran’s rant. He presented few real facts, no evidence, and a fallacious argument. Don’t masquerade tripe as news. This “opinion” wasn’t just offensive to women. Most of the men I know who read it were disgusted or outraged. This was a botched attempt at having a conversation about birth control on campus. This isn’t 1960, its not controversy, its common sense and men have no bearing in the matter. Cochran is the reason I’ve been apologizing for my gender for decades. Take responsibility for poor journalism, fire him.

  114. Ducky

    Ben, allow me to apply my pro skills (no, seriously, I’m paid to do this) to edit your article, since apparently your editors are incompetent. Perhaps you will be able to apply these insights the next time you write something, so you can avoid such a debacle as this.
    First paragraph:
    “pathogens that are overtly fornicating” Pathogens don’t fornicate. They breed, perhaps, but “Fornicate” applies specifically to the animal act of sexual intercourse. (Pathogens aren’t animals.)

    Second paragraph:
    “People go to the doctor when they’re sick” Overly simplistic – ignores the entire concept of “preventative care”
    “Pabst beer/pap smear” only funny if you’ve seen that image, which has a specific context unrelated to this article. Remove.
    “shifty females” applies an unnecessary, unsusbstantiated judgment to a new concept – remove

    Third paragraph:
    First sentence is incorrect, do a Google search for “birth control” and adjust statement accordingly
    “pest control” applies contradicting judgment to a concept you have just touted as “efficient” and “safe” – remove
    “specified professionals” There are gynecologists at student health centers, reword sentence to reflect on the quality of care provided, not the qualifications of the doctors

    Fourth paragraph:
    again, there are OB/GYNs at student health centers
    the assumption that every woman waiting for an appointment at a student health center is unsubstantiated within the article
    remove entire paragraph

    Fifth paragraph:
    “aware of this predicament” you did not present any predicament, you stated that students go to a student health center for their medical needs – present a predicament or remove
    discussion of empathy irrelevant, remove

    Sixth paragraph:
    does not need to be its own paragraph, can be lumped in with 5th and 7th paragraphs (good tip: a paragraph is at least 3 sentences long)
    “mucus-extricated” is not one word, remove hyphen

    Seventh paragraph:
    again, can be lumped with 5th and 6th paragraphs
    “nurse exits…36-months’ worth of birth control” incorrect statement on several counts: only one person sees one medical health care professional at any one time; people do not receive medication directly from a doctor or nurse, they have to go through a pharmacy; physicians cannot prescribe more than 12 months’ worth of medication. remove statement, replace with something true

    Eighth paragraph:
    “Porn stars do not need…” if you are having sex without having children, you need the same amount of birth control as anyone else – statement unimportant, confusing, and untrue

    Ninth paragraph:
    “read your Redbook” claim unsubstantiated within the article, no females reading Redbooks – remove
    “lobby of a specialist” re: student health centers have the particular specialist you are describing
    ((“in need of actual medical attention” Okay, maybe your student health center is better than mine, but I don’t go to our SHC for real problems – they just aren’t good enough, I go to a hospital for that. I go there for preventative care – allergy meds and such.))

    Tenth paragraph
    “Greenville…prescriptions” implies that women are waiting for a pharmacy line, invalidates arguments that they are inconviencing you
    “Rite Aid” further invalidates previous arguments
    Your article employs various judgment calls on the character of females, gross and likely incorrect assumptions about what happens at the student health center, and invalidates itself by confusing a pharmacy with a clinic. This is poorly written and should be completely revised before another copy is submitted.

    (Hey, editors – that’s what you should have written to Ben.)

  115. Sheila

    Dear Ben,

    Because you obviously don’t know the meaning of either:

    the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: to follow the dictates of conscience.
    the complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual.
    an inhibiting sense of what is prudent: I’d eat another piece of pie but my conscience would bother me.
    Obsolete . consciousness; self-knowledge.

       /ˌkɒnʃiˈɛnʃəs, ˌkɒnsi-/ Show Spelled[kon-shee-en-shuhs, kon-see-] Show IPA
    controlled by or done according to conscience; scrupulous: a conscientious judge.
    meticulous; careful; painstaking; particular: conscientious application to the work at hand.

  116. Every Woman Everywhere

    Dear Ben, I’m sorry that you’ve never been laid in your life. I’m sorry that you’re such a huge douchenozzle that women won’t have anything to do with you.

    I’m sorry that your experiences with attempting to attract women have been such miserable failures that you have turned into the flaming misogynist that you clearly are now.

    I’m sorry that you just wrote yourself out of any chance of ever getting a nursing position for as long as the Internet continues to exist.

    Actually, no, I’m not. That was sarcasm. Frankly, I find your continued existence to be an affront to the entire human race. I hope you discover that you have rendered yourself utterly unemployable for the rest of your miserable existence. I hope the student editors responsible for publishing your disgusting rants are fired, and if I ever have the opportunity to meet you in person, please understand that I will make a “conscientious” effort to utterly crush your testicles into powder with my bare hands.

    In other words, fuck you, you disgusting piece of trash.

    • bigfruitbasket

      Tell us how you really feel. Violence over an article? Seriously? Grow up.

      • alexis

        They were sarcastic in the beginning of their reply but you don’t sense potential sarcasm at the end ?

        Oh, and Yes, violence over an article: words with a clear message.
        The words are ignorant & misogynistic.

        You obviously don’t understand the power of words.

  117. You guys suck

    Wow. Are you TEC ladies really that clueless? And is Ben really that douchy to be just rubbing it in more?

  118. katz

    Why haven’t we heard from the Deans, the President or at least the faculty advisor to the paper?

    It’s like everyone involved just hopes this goes away soon and hopes to shirk all responsibility for this fiasco.

  119. Nurse

    As a nurse, I am appalled and disgusted to think that someone like Ben, with his outright mysogyny and obvious lack of compassion, will soon be one of my colleagues. I feel intense concern for whomever may be a patient of his one day.

  120. alexis

    “It is forbidden in The East Carolinian’s policy to allow anyone to see an unpublished composition — period.”

    Yes, I can see why.
    It shows the truth unquestionably behind the writers that represent your paper & even your state.

    Ignorant & Misogynistic.

  121. Philippa

    Ben, was that really meant as an apology? It was almost as insulting as your original ignorant, offensive, misogynist, self-centered “article”. You obviously didn’t mean a word of it so why did you bother making it?

  122. Victoria

    Ben, I hope you are reconsidering your major.

  123. M

    Update 10/29/2011

    Mr. Ben recently posted this on his still-public Facebook profile:

    “Ben Cochran
    good news! i’m merely a “mortal embarrassment to the college of nursing.” for a second there i thought i was going to be kicked out. instead i was just chewed out. i can handle that. i’ve been chewed out before. now that that’s done…on to graduation!!!!!”

    Shame on you for such incompetent discipline, ECU. Shame, shame, shame on you.

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