It’s “Sex Week” at Yale. From February 4-14, Yalies engage in public debauchery supported by their own university administration.
According to the organizers, “Sex Week” is “a biennial series of events and workshops on sexuality, intimacy, and relationships.” And therein lies the problem.
With a target budget of $20,000, “Sex Week” provides anything but mere education sessions on sexuality, intimacy, and relationships. It provides a range of tasteless events that surely should not align with the conviction of Yale administrators. Board members of the “Sex Week” executive committee posit that their event fosters “an open and multifarious dialogue about sexuality [that] is essential to the safety and well-being of our peers.” This is but a farce, supported by annual evidence since 2002.
Here are some of the most eye-catching events on the list: “XXX Haiku Workshop,” “Avoiding & Achieving Pregnancy: What Your Government Does to Help,” “Work It: Founder of Babeland Sex Toys,” “Maggie Mayhem with Cindy Gallop on Sex, Sex on Camera, and the Porn Industry,” and “Fornication 101 with Oh Megan!” With additional events likely to grace the Yale campus over the course of the next few days, “Sex Week” is the antithesis of a series of intellectually stimulating events more appropriate for an institution of higher learning.
Don’t worry, though. This year’s “Sex Week” isn’t actually representative of Yale’s culture. The “Sex Week” of previous years (e.g. 2008, when “Sex Week” hosted a screening of pornography that was cut off after even organizers of the event became shocked by the film’s explicit depictions of sexual violence against women; or 2010, when eleven out of the 34 events on the agenda featured porn stars or adult-film producers as the center of attention.) probably reveals the true nature of both a significant portion of the student body and the university administration
William F. Buckley Jr. criticized Yale, his university, in the hope of overthrowing the established order there. He pined for the day that conscientious students would outmaneuver those infatuated with a post-Modernist dogma. That was sixty-two years ago and it appears that things have only gotten worse.
God and Man at Yale is but a forgotten fiction to today’s students. Much of this generation has largely relegated to oblivion thoughts of morality or prudence. Students—even those at Yale and other esteemed institutions—have become a flock of self-indulgent creatures that Buckley so vigorously cautioned against.
In 2010 and 2011, Yale finally conducted an investigation on appropriate sex education. The university’s final report concluded with this statement:
“We heard over and over from students, faculty, and staff that “Sex Week at Yale,” a student-sponsored event, is highly problematic. A student-initiated event begun in 2002, it has described itself as “a campus-wide interdisciplinary sex education program. Over time, this event clearly has lost the focus of its stated intention and in recent years it has prominently featured titillating displays, “adult” film stars, and commercial sponsors of such material.”
Yet, despite these critical words, the university has allowed this charade of “sex education” to continue this year, albeit requiring the organizers to omit association with Yale in name. What administrators have done with their passivity and appeasement to such rabble-rousers is delegitimize the views of those who oppose the hosting of “Sex Week,” and the vaunted education that it provides. Surely, the university must recognize that, by simply permitting these egregiously crude and pornographic acts to occur in public, it is actually encouraging a particular sexual agenda. Not to mention, watching a porn star get lashed with a whip while hundreds of fellow classmates revel in delight must certainly be a degrading experience for more than just a handful students. Did the administrators ever consider this apparently frivolous possibility?
As is usual at many universities across America, administrators actually joined the student organizers of the event in promoting behaviors that fall well outside the purview of the university. As Nathan Harden, a recent Yale graduate, notes, university administrators “played willing host to the pornification of Yale,” not merely providing the time and space to screen movies, but also advertising “Sex Week” and distributing materials on behalf of it.
This year, administrators have chosen to take a somewhat hands off approach to “Sex Week.” There. All better! Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to get rid of tasteless baggage. Just for a second, consider the outlandish notion that this is arguably the top university in the country, not to mention, possibly the world. Upon encountering at Yale the specter of public pornography encapsulated by fawning from hundreds of students—presumably, some of the country’s future leaders—one should worry deeply. What is our generation coming to? It casts aside serious debates on serious issues, such as abortion, welfare, and the appropriate size of government, with a wave of the hand at the opposing argument, yet it feels no shame in telling the world that it has come so far as to feel comfortable encouraging the degradation of women or watching pornography in the same rooms which are supposed to be bastions of intellectualism.
This is our generation.
Raj Kannappan :: Cornell University :: Ithaca, New York :: @Raj Kannappan