I was disappointed the other day when a Chronicle article mistakenly asserted that I was "offended" by the Sex Workers' Art Show. That is precisely not the point of Duke Students for an Ethical Duke's efforts to bring national media attention to the matter, as we are not in the business of defining what is socially acceptable on this campus. We are, among other things, in the business of ensuring that Duke's own rules are created for and applied fairly to all students.
From reading The Chronicle, you might have thought that DSED and I want to keep similar shows out of Duke.
Quite the contrary, I encourage student groups to hire as many strippers as they like. I'm eager to see what happens when a fraternity sponsors an educational strip show intended "to get people talking about fraternity culture in a way that they never do normally." We'll see if Duke's opinion of stripping transforms from sexual expression and female liberation to exploitation and sexual gratification.
The show, of course, violated Duke's policy on strippers. Publicly, Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta has fiercely asserted that Duke's commitment to "free speech" and "academic freedom" permitted the recent sex show. In person, when I inquired about the policy conflict saying Duke can't have it both ways, Moneta responded, "I can." Why? Because "I can make the distinction" between personal gratification and education, he said.
So these distinctions are entrusted to Larry "Water Buffalo" Moneta, who classifies sticking a sparkler in one's anus as "speech" and finds bouncing breasts "academic." What might people have learned? "I have no response," Moneta wrote in an e-mail. Then how do you know the show was educational? "I'm done with this conversation," he said.
I may or may not personally agree with what you're doing, but the next time any student group wants to throw a stripper-fest on campus, I will defend to the death your apparent right to have strippers regardless of race, gender, class or ideology. In fact, we will even help ensure you get sponsorship from the University and Cultural Funds.
Topless car wash in the blue zone? Wet T-shirt contest in the Bryan Center? Call it the Larry Moneta Wet Water Buffalo Blast, call it artistic and educational and we'll see to it that you have your event.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Letter to the Editor: Response to Sex Show Article
The DSEDuke President wrote a letter to the Chronicle correcting their most recent mistake. The letter was published today: