Sex and silence at Wesleyan

Wesleyan is not for the faint-hearted, writes John Leo, whose daughter was graduated in 2004. He was a bit taken aback by “the naked dorm, the transgender dorm, the queer prom, the pornography-for-credit course, the obscene sidewalk chalking, the campus club named crudely for a womanís private part, or the appearance on campus of a traveling anti-Semitic roadshow, loosely described as a pro-Palestinian conference.” You know how dads are.

His daughter complains that no real debate takes place at Wesleyan

After the 2000 election, my daughter told me that 80 percent of the students had voted for Al Gore. “Bush got only 20 percent of the vote?” I asked. “No, Dad,” she explained, “the 20 percent was for Nader.”

. . . She is politically liberal but wonders how Democrats of her generation will be able to speak convincingly to the middle of the political spectrum when so many of them shun the complexity of arguments and simply spout the party line.

Two years ago the Argus, the student newspaper, ran a survey and found that 32 percent of the students feel “uncomfortable speaking their opinion.” Orthodoxy plays a role, of course, but so does an exaggerated fear of giving offense. Identity politics is so strong that criticizing other students’ ideas can seem like a faux pas, if not a challenge to their core identity. Better to keep your head down and stick to standard opinions.

The pornography course ended when the professor died; the naked dorm is losing popularity. “The obscene chalkings, which included colorful references to the sexual practices of professors, are now forbidden, possibly because they were upsetting donors and enraging some faculty.”

Now the administration is going after all-male frats while tolerating discrimination by all-female Womanist House.

About Joanne


  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    It took a quarter century to get rid of the Double Nickel, there are still vestiges of busing. Stupid ideas die hard. Criminally stupid ideas are imortal.

  2. Richard Brandshaft says:

    The older generation is upset about explicit sexual material and liberalism on campus. Some things haven?t changed in 40 years.

    There is a difference: my generation was casting off the repressed puritanical conventions of the older generation, and upsetting our elders in the process. Now we are the elders, so the current generation is just taking it too far.

    With good luck ? not miracle scale good luck ? I could be alive in 20 years, when the children of this generation is looking for ways to shake up their parents. Furthermore, I will no doubt be more mentally ossified in my 80s that I am in my 60s. There?s something to look forward to.

    ?so many of them shun the complexity of arguments and simply spout the party line.? Like that?s brand new.