ETHICS F BEYOND THE WALLS By Christopher L. Wolfe and Larry G. Anderson
eminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak at Utah State University in October 2014. Unknown to most outside of a few Internet circles, Sarkeesian and her Web series on misogyny in video games had gained the unwanted attention of a small, but loud contingent of gamers. Loosely united under the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate, the group claimed to support “ethics in games journalism,” but their most consistent outreach came in the form of vicious campaigns of harassment, online and off, against those who disagreed with them, particularly young women. Following two anonymous threats of mass shootings at Sarkeesian’s Utah State talk – and the inability under Utah law for the university to prevent firearms from entering the auditorium – she canceled her appearance. Almost overnight, Sarkeesian (and by association #GamerGate) jumped from an online-edition curiosity to the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek and the front page of The New York Times. The sheer absurdity of the situation – “All this angst over games?” one Times story commenter asked – sparked the earliest interest, but as her message began to drown out the noise surrounding it, Sarkeesian herself became the main attraction. Soon, she was a guest on “The Colbert Report” and a subject of ABC News’ “Nightline.” But Sarkeesian is not the subject of this story. Her rise to fame happened while Andrew M. “Andy” Cullison ’01 was in his first months as director of The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics. In that brief time, before anybody thought that a visiting video game critic might require special security considerations, Cullison had already snagged Sarkeesian as a speaker at Prindle’s 2015 Undergraduate Ethics Symposium. The order of events is important here because it hints at the direction Prindle is heading under Cullison: straight and unapologetically to the heart of 21st century ethical inquiry.
BRAVE NEW WORLD Andrew M. Cullison ’01
On Nov. 2, 2014, Alex Lee arrived at his part-time job at a Frisco, Tex., Target as a normal 16-year-old kid. Unbeknown to him, while he was checking customers out, a
SPRING 2015 DEPAUW MAGAZINE 27
Jon Fortt, Andrew Cullison and the Prindle Institute, and the School of Music's Recital Hour