Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, February 19, 2007

Our Crumbling Civilization: William, Mary And Sex Edition

What would William & Mary's most famous alums -- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler -- think if they knew the school they attended was using public funds for pubic (no typo there) events?
A recent "sex workers" art show at the College of William & Mary is prompting more questions about President Gene R. Nichol's leadership of the 314-year-old public university.

Mr. Nichol allowed the "Sex Workers' Art Show" to stop at William & Mary last week as part of its national tour. The event included male and female strippers, escorts and prostitutes in various states of undress expressing their feelings on subjects ranging from their jobs to global politics. (WashTimes)
Is what an escort thinks about the war in Iraq now considered meaningful education? Is watching hookers sit around wearing (or not wearing) who knows what the sort of learning activity taxpayers had in mind when the nation's second-oldest college went on the public dole back in 1906?

Nichols justified his position on the sex show as you would expect:
"I don't like this kind of show, and I don't like having it here," Mr. Nichol told the Williamsburg-based Virginia Gazette. "But it is not the practice and province of universities to censor or cancel performances because they are controversial."
Of course, he's not telling the truth. The open door is extended to liberal and secular programs; questions are raised only about conservative or religious ... make that Christian ... programs. In fact, another controversial move by Nichol did just that:
The criticism against Mr. Nichol began in October when he removed a cross from the school's Wren Chapel to make it more open to people of all faiths.

Mr. Nichol said he removed the cross because potential students and their families viewing the chapel on campus tours immediately departed and because a Jewish student required to participate in a program in the chapel vowed never to return. ...

Before Mr. Nichol's decision about the cross, it was always on display but could be removed by request. Now it can be returned by request.
What did Nichol do to the cross? He censored it! He cancelled its performance, which had been continuous since Williamsburg's historic Bruton Parish loaned it to the college in 1940.

One hypersensitive and bigoted Jewish student raising a stink is not exactly a big-time controversy, but it was enough to get Nichol jumping up and ripping down the cross, an action since approved (Natch!) by the faculty and student assemblies.

One alum, Karla Bruno, who has decided to withhold financial support from the college until sensibilities are re-established, put it nicely:
"Where's the line? There's got to be a line somewhere. He's making a judgment call about the cross, but he refuses to make a judgment call about this depraved event that was going on at the University Center."

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