Phi Beta Cons

Yale Alumni React to Sex Week

Over the past week, I caught wind of a movement among alumni to call the Yale administration to account for the raunchy content of Yale’s biennial Sex Week. Some have written to the school or spoken directly to senior administrators. Of particular concern, among those I talked to, is the potential for women to be degraded and objectified when porn is welcomed into the classroom. So far, the university’s response has been to issue a boilerplate statement about the university’s commitment to freedom of expression.

Here’s an odd twist: Last week an alumnus, alarmed by my April 5th report on Sex Week, contacted the school to voice his concerns. Shortly thereafter, a Yale representative told him that he or she could could find “no record” of my having ever attended the university. It turned out to be a simple administrative error. And, thankfully, the matter has now been cleared up. But the underlying problem for the university isn’t going away. Alumni are rightfully disturbed by the women-degrading (and human-degrading) consequences of hosting glamorized portrayals of sexual brutality in Yale’s classrooms.

Yale administrators are caught between their supposed concern for women’s rights on one hand, and their firm commitment to moral relativism on matters of sexuality on the other. They are going to have to make a moral choice about where “freedom of expression” ends and the degradation of women begins.

Furthermore, the university is in the midst of a severe budget crisis. Staff are being laid off, and financial aid for students is being cut. University officials must ask themselves if this is a time when they can afford to undercut the confidence and goodwill of alumni donors and fund raisers.

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