Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

BYU Violates Honor Code Violator

The only thing Elizabeth Esther gets right in her article, “BYU, It’s Not About Sex It’s About Honor“, occurs when she states “I’m just not a fan of prolonged punishment and public humiliation”.

BYU basketball player Brandon Davies goes to the BYU authorities and tells them in private of his violation of the honor code. Then BYU morally violates him by putting him thru a public degradation ceremony. Such also impacts on his teammates ability to function as a cohesive winning unit.

Why couldn’t BYU wait until the end of the semester to punish Davies? Why did they need to go public? What is not stated in the article is that not only was Davies immediately suspended as a basketball player, but also suspended as a student. The BYU mentality reflects a mob rule mentality. It reflects a mentality of immediate gratification.

BYU acted in a dishonorable manner in the way they treated Brandon Davies who as a student has now learned how a so-called religion treats young adherents who may have strayed from their moral code.

What BYU did to Davies has nothing to do with religious values but rather the values associated with authoritarianism.

March 14, 2011 Posted by | Brigham Young University, ethics, higher education, sex, sexual policing, sexual politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

God, sex, basketball and BYU

Basketball player Bandon Davies suspension from BYU supposedly resulted from his violation of BYU’s Honor Code, a code which all BYU students must sign.

So supporters of this code argue that the suspension was all about “honor” and honor in this specific case is living a chaste life, a life which precludes pre-marital sex.

Or to put it in dankprofessor terms,  BYU in essence argues that all sex outside of marriage has no value and brings  dishonor to those engaging in such sex.  So not suspending Davies would bring dishonor to BYU. Such is patently anti-sexual and patronizing.  It reduces students to children who must obey the codes of their elder parents.  To become a student member of  BYU, one must sign an oath that reduces the signatories to that of children who have no personal autonomy, no zone of privacy and intimacy.  Such represents a form of totalitarianism, a form of totalitarianism that has no place in college athletics and certainly no place in NCAA sports competition.

The BYU punitive public response to Brandon Davies so-called code violation becomes a public degradation of a young talented athlete.  Certainly, BYU authorities could have handled their sexual bigotry in a discreet manner; dealing with what most people consider a private manner in a private and personal way.

The dankprofessor says shame on BYU and calls for the NCAA to consider sanctions against BYU for abusing a student athlete.

And I understand that others may see this quite differently.  For example, some BYU supporters hold that BYU is beyond secular regulation and that the team is on a “mission from God.”

To gain some historical perspective on this, I present the following.

The Brigham Young University’s so-called Honor Code is given some historical perspective in the following passage from BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY; A HOUSE OF FAITH by Gary Bergera and Ronald Pridis-

Early Rules and Enforcement

Brigham Young University is perhaps best known for its proscriptions against alcohol, coffee and tea, tobacco, premarital sex, coeducational housing, long hair, and short dresses. But only since the late 1960s have specific rules regarding behavior and dress become institutionalized as permanent standards of student conduct. Although previous BYU presidents had emphasized or de-emphasized adherence to moral standards according to their particular ideological bent, the trend during the 1960s towards greater regimentation was largely a reaction of President Ernest L. Wilkinson to developments on other American college campuses during the same era, when traditional western values were being questioned by students nationwide. Initially, officials at Brigham Young Academy offered relatively little supervision for undergraduates outside of school, which was an unusual approach to discipline for the period, especially in view of the average age of the student body–fourteen years–and the fact that many students were away from home for the first time (Smith). The academy’s 1876 Prospectus contained only a vague warning that “every student shall, in and out of school, cultivate a gentlemanly or lady-like deportment, and avoid all unbecoming associations that might reflect discreditably upon [themselves] or the institution [they have] the honor to attend.” Students were told that if they committed acts of delinquency, they would be “reprimanded by the principal,” and that in serious cases a note would be sent home to their parents. Otherwise, students were apparently free to do as they pleased off campus. Such an approach reflected BYA principal Karl G. Maeser’s European upbringing and education, where the closely supervised dormitory system of British and American schools was untried. In fact, compulsory dormitories originated in seventeenth century England, where undergraduates enrolled in college at the age of fifteen, and gradually disappeared in the late nineteenth century as the age of entering students increased to nineteen years.1

[p. 94] As steeped as Maeser was in the Saxon method of leaving after-school discipline to students’ parents, after three years as principal he came to realize that because “the students behaved so badly” off-campus, additional measures would be necessary to guarantee his pupils’ moral safety and to protect the good name of his academy. Maeser thus devised a housecheck program, christened the Domestic Organization, which provided that students would be “visited in their residences at stated intervals by [faculty] representatives.” Furthermore, one student per house was to be appointed to “act as Senior,” to attend meetings with the principal, and to encourage conformity to BYA standards among peers. Defending his Domestic Organization at an 1880 assembly, Maeser answered critics, “Some may think it none of my business where they are or what they do when out of school, but that is the law of the academy, and if they wish [it] to be none of my business, all they have to do is leave.”2

During the Domestic Organization’s first year, 1881-82, Maeser forbade “vulgar language, profanity, or obscenity in any form, smoking, [and] the use of strong drinks.” Three years later, Maeser’s pupils were forbidden from attending “public or private parties without a written permit from the principal.” In February 1885, twenty-two-year-old chemistry instructor James E. Talmage was appointed “assistant to the principal over giving permission to go to parties and [over] receiving excuses for being away from home after academy hours,” defined as eight o’clock on week nights and ten o’clock on weekends. The previous year, faculty also advised students against “attending the skating rink” and loitering near stores, on street corners, or near the train station.3

Although these and other regulations appeared extensive, students soon discovered that enforcement of Maeser’s rules would be minimal. Students learned, for example, that faculty assigned to visit their boarding rooms visited them only for “counseling and advising,” not for “espionage or individual surveillance.” Maeser kept his 1880 promise to the students, when the Domestic Organization was first introduced, that they would be “on their honor” to confirm or deny accusations made against them and that “any student who [wanted] to make himself smart by disobeying the rules without being found out [was] perfectly welcome to all the honor and glory resulting from such a course.”4

Besides being privately reprimanded by the principal, students who were observed–or admitted to–violating Domestic Organization rules could also be placed under “house arrest.” But as one faculty member recalled, “House arrest was too formal and did little to retard the natural exuberance and instincts of normal young men” (Swensen). House arrest and curfew both proved simple enough for enterprising students to circumvent by sneaking out of back windows. The BYA [p. 95] Studentnewspaper joked that “since the subject of marriage was considered in Brother Keeler’s theology [class], domestic visitors complain that they can’t find the boys at home. Probably the young ladies can tell where they spend their time.” In 1895, under Maeser’s progressive successor, Benjamin Cluff, Jr., the Domestic Organization was reorganized so that students were assigned to visit fellow students, thus relieving the faculty of this largely unwanted chore. Determining and enforcing rules, according to the school catalog, was placed “as much as possible in the hands of the students, with the view of developing in them the power of self-government.” “The greatest liberty possible [is] allowed the students,” Cluff added the following year, “until by some overt act they demonstrate that they are not able to use that liberty with wisdom and discretion” (“President’s Report”). Specific rules were eventually eliminated in favor of the general statement, “Students who are irregular in their habits, keep late hours, have improper associates, or visit any place of bad or questionable repute, are liable to be placed under special restrictions and regulations” (Circular).5

Although Cluff had little tolerance for adolescent mischief, he considered it futile to try to coerce students to behave–a viewpoint he probably acquired while studying at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. When at Cluff’s invitation, acclaimed liberal educator John Dewey delivered ten lectures at the BYA Summer School in 1901, he told his audience that “the reason for giving [children] freedom . . . is to be found in the fact that only through freedom can [they] develop responsibility.” Too many educators, he added, “carry the entire burden of the school themselves, leaving the children barbarians and savages–unable to face any responsibility of life when it comes.”6

Under Cluff’s replacement, George H. Brimhall, the university gradually reverted to increased regimentation and administrative surveillance. The 1910 Quarterly instructed students that within the limits of “honor and personal righteousness demanded of good citizens and consistent Latter-day Saints,” they would be given “the fullest freedom.” Brimhall’s interpretation of this broad statement included a ban on “pool halls and bowling alleys,” which had not been specifically forbidden since Maeser’s time. Furthermore, students were told, “the president of the university may announce additions to these rules at any time.” Brimhall asked theology teachers in 1911 to make periodic inquiries into student behavior and to “hand in to the presidency a list of students violating the regulations.” The Domestic Organization was converted into a student court, through which students were encouraged to try classmates for such infractions as “profanity, persistently idling away time, use of tobacco or intoxicants, and frequenting places of questionable repute” (Quarterly, 1919-20). Those found guilty were required to apologize for their behavior, pay [p. 96] a small fine, or renounce their student body privileges. An adverse judgment from the student court often also resulted in a further hearing with the BYU Administrative Council, where penalties included suspension and expulsion. Besides establishing a student court, the faculty/student Board of Control, which oversaw student government, suggested the establishment of a “student police force,” with a “chief of police” and “secret service men.” The board finally settled for a “Social Service Committee,” which sounded less clandestine but probably served the same purpose (WB, 16 Feb. 1915). Another innovation of the Board of Control was a 1916 staff of “student disciplinarians,” who were responsible for “clear[ing] the halls and radiators of loafers” at the beginning of each class period.7

When Brimhall was succeeded by Franklin Harris, BYU experienced yet a third shift in discipline, this time towards the former, more lenient policies of Benjamin Cluff. Harris assured students that during his tenure there would be “no particular rules to live up to except to be men and women in the real sense” (YN, 26 Sept. 1923). He reported the following year that the university took pride in being “an institution practically without rules,” adding, “We simply expect every student to be a gentleman or a lady, and [we] leave largely to each individual [the] responsibility for doing this as best he [or she] can.” Six years later in 1930, Harris again emphasized, “Brigham Young boasts that it gets along without disciplinary rules of conduct for the students,” reiterating that the school “merely requires that students shall be Latter-day Saint ladies and gentlemen.” In 1925, at the recommendation of Dean of Women Ethel Butt, Harris authorized a curfew for coeds–11:00 on week nights and 12:30 on weekends–which was subsequently expanded to include men, but the curfew was never conscientiously enforced. Butt later successfully pushed for a regulation prohibiting men and women students from living in the same house or building (YN, 15 Sept. 1930). With these two exceptions, however, Harris held to his promise of keeping rules to a minimum and of leaving their enforcement to students. Only when he was abroad for the 1939-40 school year, overseeing the establishment of an Iranian department of agriculture, did the faculty Attendance and Scholarship Committee break a twenty-year tradition and enunciate a list of specific regulations for students. The committee’s “Standards and Rules Governing Student Conduct at BYU” prohibited the use of tobacco and “intoxicating liquor,” required that students “maintain order in all buildings of the institution,” and stipulated that “women are not permitted to enter the living quarters of men except when properly chaperoned.” Despite the committee’s best intentions, however, their list did not last long and was never printed in the school catalog

 

March 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The ickiness factor and beyond at Northwestern U

The sex toy publicly induced orgasm at Northwestern University seems to be getting even more bizarre.

Initially, the Northwestern administration issued a statement indicating there was no problem with the classroom demonstration.   Then the President of NW states he is disturbed by the event and orders an investigation.

The professor J. Michael Bailey initially indicated that there was no reason to apologize and then issues an apology but states there is no reason for said apology.

Professor Bailey stated the following-

“Those who believe that there was, in fact, a serious problem have had considerable opportunity to explain why: in their numerous media stories on the controversy, or in their various correspondences with me…But they have failed to do so. Saying that the demonstration ‘crossed the line,’ ‘went too far,’ ‘was inappropriate’ or was ‘troubling’ convey disapproval but do not illuminate reasoning.

If I were grading the arguments against what occurred, most would earn an ‘F.’

Yes, but maybe the University’s investigation will find out what the basis of the disapproval may be; may find out why the President of the University was so disturbed.

Clearly, the University seems to be oblivious to the Supreme Court decision last week regarding the usage of hateful and degrading rhetoric at military funerals by members of the so-called Westboro Church. In that decision, Chief Justice Roberts stated: “Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears, of both joy and sorrow- as it did here- inflict great pain.  We cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”

The dankprofessor accepts the notion that the post classroom orgasm demonstration falls under the mantle of  the Supreme Court’s protected speech.  The orgasm demonstration does not come close to promulgating anything relating to hate and degradation.  And those in attendance at the demonstration were their by their own freedom of choice; they were not forced to endure anything like those who were subject to the rantings of the Westboro cadre.

And as Professor Bailey states those demanding some type of redress never state what was the nature of the problem other than embracing the notion that it was in bad taste.

And the dankprofessor asks is bad taste an adequate reason for banning and/or investigating anything at a university that embraces a liberal arts education?  Certainly a discussion and examination of what constitutes bad taste may be of some educational value.  But basing action on the belief that something represents bad taste should be given no consideration.

Or putting it in other terms, the “icky” factor may be a reality.  But ickiness should not be the basis for a President of any university issuing formal statements and calling for an investigation.

But then again, some student could yell sexual harassment, could feel that a hostile learning environment was created, could feel that one did not engage in informed consent as to what was to occur.  Such would trump issues of freedom of speech, issues of taste. Such could very well occur given the nature of  the modern university in contemporary America.

March 6, 2011 Posted by | higher education, Northwestern University, sex, sex toys, speech | Leave a comment

Troubled Northwestern president orders sex investigation

In response to the public usage on Northwestern University campus of a sex toy which induced an orgasm by a prone female,  the President of Northwestern issued a statement indicating he was “troubled and disappointed” by what happened after the sexuality class of Professor Bailey. He said the professor used poor judgement and ordered an investigation of the incident.

What troubles the dankprofessor is exactly what will be investigated.  The consensual nature of the act as well as the consensual presence of the students are not in dispute.

Maybe the President is projecting his troubled feeling on to others and wishing to determine if others have been similarly troubled and disappointed.  On the other hand university presidents are almost always troubled; they are paid to deal with troubles and disappointments.  And to date the President is the only person who has publicly confessed to being troubled.

There must be more.  Maybe, just maybe, the sex toy is being fraudulently advertised.  Maybe the so-called sex toy induced orgasm was faked by the woman.  Whether the woman really had an orgasm might merit an investigation.

Investigating whether the orgasm was real shouldn’t be difficult since Faith Kroll who was the subject of the orgasm stated she had no shame and would be happy to do it again.  Of course, she could end up faking it again, if such be the case.  What we need is a scientific controlled study with experts independently evaluating the alleged orgasm.  And the experts would have to be screened to insure that the observers would not be troubled and disappointed.

Bottom line for the dankprofessor is that Faith Kroll says she is satisfied. Now if some people are troubled by her satisfaction, such should simply be their problem and outside of the purview of university presidents who all too often can’t get no satisfaction.

March 4, 2011 Posted by | higher education, Northwestern University, orgasm, sex, sex toys | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Giffords as commencement speaker

So some George Washington University students have launched a campaign to have Charlie Sheen as their commencement speaker.  How keen, how witty, how grand, it’s almost like falling in love.

But to take commencement speakers beyond the ordinary, beyond the absurd into the extraordinary, how about seriously committing to the goal of having Gabrielle Giffords as the commencement speaker in 2012 at the University of Arizona.

March 4, 2011 Posted by | Charlie Sheen, Gabrielle Giffords, higher education | Leave a comment

Students demand Charlie Sheen as commencement speaker

Many college students want commencement speakers who are famous and some new student groups and Facebook pages suggest any kind of fame will do. George Washington University already has a commencement speaker for this year (New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg). But students at the university have started a campaign to get Charlie Sheen as the 2012 commencement speaker, attracting considerable support on Facebook and Twitter (typical comment: “I don’t want some stiff-ass politician boring me to death as I graduate”). The GW Hatchet, the student newspaper, has declared the movement “a satirical ploy.” But the idea may be spreading. Other Facebook pages want Sheen to speak at commencement at the University of Georgia, the University of Missouri at Columbia and West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

Well, why not? Charlie Sheen on campus as seen on TV.  He could end up competing with Oprah or Barbara Walters.   The dankprofessor looks at it this way, Sarah Palin is in demand to speak at the six figure level at just about anywhere.   Well, she appears to entertain the notion that she could be president.  Whatever delusional thinking Sheen may have about himself, it is on a low level as compared to Palin’s delusional thinking.

But no matter, ultimately it comes down to another segment of reality TV.


March 3, 2011 Posted by | Charlie Sheen, Facebook, higher education | 1 Comment

No controversy at Northwestern over live sex demonstration

And why should there be controversy.  The demonstration occurred after class, it was optional and apparently involved only consenting adults.  And the dankprofessor finds it to be a breath of fresh air when the professor stated he had no regrets, after all he stated his students are open minded adults rather than fragile children.  Let us hope that the student as child obsessed are able to control their obsessive thinking, unlikely but not impossible.  Following is the text of the article-

Northwestern University defends after-class live sex demonstration

BY KARA SPAK 

Staff Reporter/kspak@suntimes.com

Last Modified: Mar 3, 2011 11:11AM

More than 100 Northwestern University students watched as a naked 25-year-old woman was penetrated by a sex toy wielded by her fiancee during an after-class session of the school’s popular “Human Sexuality” class.

The woman said she showed up at the Feb. 21 lecture in the Ryan Family Auditorium in Evanston expecting just to answer questions, but was game to demonstrate. The course’s professor on Wednesday acknowledged some initial hesitation, but said student feedback was “uniformly positive.”

And Northwestern defended the class and its professor.

“Northwestern University faculty members engage in teaching and research on a wide variety of topics, some of them controversial and at the leading edge of their respective disciplines,” said Alan K. Cubbage, vice president for University Relations. “The University supports the efforts of its faculty to further the advancement of knowledge.”

The optional, non-credit demo followed psychology Prof. John Michael Bailey’s sexuality class. Nearly 600 students are in Bailey’s class this quarter, and most didn’t stick around for the after-class show, which featured four members of Chicago’s fetish community describing “BDSM,” or bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism.

“I didn’t expect to see a live sex show,” said Justin Smith, 21, a senior economics and political science major who was in the after-class session. “We were told we were going to have some people talk to us about the fetish world and kink.”

Smith said it took him awhile to process what happened, but he doesn’t object to the way the material was presented.

“It was for me academic like everything else,” he said.

He told his grandparents about the class.

“My grandma was like, wow, Northwestern is a little bit different then when I went there,” he said.

In a statement, Bailey said he hesitated briefly before allowing the public sex act.

“My hesitation concerned the likelihood that many people would find this inappropriate,” he wrote. “My decision to say ‘yes’ reflected my inability to come up with a legitimate reason why students should not be able to watch such a demonstration.”

After the demonstration, several students tried a different sex toy that gave a “titillating” but not painful shock, testing it out on their arms, said Ken Melvoin-Berg, who narrated the after-class lecture. Melvoin-Berg said the school paid him between $300 to $500 for his appearance.

Faith Kroll, the woman who stripped, was laying down on a towel when she was penetrated. When she arrived, she thought she just would be answering students’ questions and showing off sex toys they brought, including whips, paddles and a clown wig.

An “absurd, clinical” video and subsequent discussion about various aspects of female orgasm led Faith and her partner Jim Marcus, 45, to prove to the class that female orgasm is real.

Faith said she was not coerced in any way and students were repeatedly warned it was going to get graphic.

“One of the students asked what my specific fetish was and mine is being in front of people, having the attention and being used,” she said. “The students seemed really intrigued.”

In his statement, Bailey said student feedback was “uniformly positive.”

Marcus, a musician who said he has worked as a sex educator, said he thinks it is “smart and important” for students to be learn about sexuality.

“It’s really scary for young people who want to get involved in the BDSM community who don’t understand issues regarding consent and safety,” he said.

Melvoin-Berg said he met Prof. Bailey through a swinging couple who previously spoke to the class. Melvoin-Berg runs the “Weird Chicago Red Light District Sex Tour,” which has participants playing games like “spot the ho” as they travel the city looking for prostitutes. He also teaches “Networking for Kinky People,” a 3-hour version of the one hour lecture he gave at Northwestern.

Melvoin-Berg said the sex toy used was BDSM, but was “not like a pain thing…we wanted to make it poignant.”

“I did mention this was going to be the best money their parents had spent on their education,” he said.

Bill Yarber, a researcher at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction and author of the textbook Human Sexuality: Diversity in Contemporary America, said he’s never heard of a naked woman being brought to orgasm in front of a class of students.

“The way you present it there is very unconventional,” he said. “There’s certain boundaries of things, I think, that are acceptable and that would certainly be pushing that.”

This isn’t Bailey’s first brush with controversy. His 2003 book, “The Man Who Would Be Queen,” sparked hostile debate in the transgender community by claiming that there were more reasons for men to become women then simply that biology trapped them in the wrong body. Several transgender women who spoke with Bailey claimed they did not consent to being used for research and accused him of practicing psychology without a license.

Bailey said in his statement Wednesday that during the Feb. 21 after-class lecture, “I was not in a mood to surrender to sex negativity and fear.”

“Do I have any regrets?” he wrote on Wednesday. “It is mostly too early to say. I certainly have no regrets concerning Northwestern students, who have demonstrated that they are open-minded grown ups rather than fragile children.”

March 3, 2011 Posted by | exhibitionism, higher education, Northwestern University, public sex, sex | Leave a comment

   

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 48 other followers

%d bloggers like this: