Last semester I entered college exhilarated and enthralled by the prospect of a world without restrictions.
p. Coming from 12 years of Catholic education, I was eager to leave my sheltered life and embrace the ideas and cultures of the world around me. Hours of lecture on the importance of acceptance and diversity during orientation solidified these expectations. But the past few weeks have left me questioning if the College truly values these ideals.
p. What better way to embrace a new culture than the Sex Workers’ Art Show?
p. According to its website, the event last night showcased the stories and struggles of those in the sex industry “to dispel the myth that they are anything short of artists, innovators and geniuses.” The production has taken place on campus the past three years and had an audience of about 1,000 at each showing. Such demand for a production should have been enough to allow it on campus and even spike interest regarding its worth.
p. Nevertheless, there was a backlash from alumni, certain segments of campus and College President Gene Nichol, who questioned the importance of such a show and whether or not it warranted funding from student activities money.
p. The College puts on many functions throughout the year that may not appeal to the masses or may contain profanity. For example, the Ying Yang Twins are scheduled to perform in March, and a comedian came with a bag full of profane jokes and sexual commentary during orientation. Although the Sex Workers’ Art Show is not a UCAB event, UCAB Music Committee Chair Jeanna Occhiogrosso ’08 claimed in the Jan. 22 Flat Hat article “UCAB seeks diversity” that one of the missions of UCAB is to “satisfy different tastes on campus” and that “the name of the game is diversity” when choosing which music events to bring to the College. I believe this was also the mission of the 11 student organizations hosting the show.
p. If we claim to support diversity as a community, should we not welcome everyone to our campus and give them a chance to share their points of view?
p. By openly admonishing the show, Nichol and other critics place limits on our cultural growth as a university. While I may not support prostitution or pornography, I can’t deny its prevalence in today’s world and the impact it has on our lives through the media and entertainment industry. Change cannot take place without education. Those against the production are promoting restrictions on our education.
p. Were not diversity and tolerance for other religions two reasons Nichol cited for removing the Wren cross last year? One would think he would continue his crusade and dedication to our university in his support for all walks of life. But now that more conservative alumni have put him in the hot seat, he seems to have lost courage.
p. Diversity is not a fair-weather game or something we put on the back burner when it gets too controversial. It is something to which we dedicate ourselves as a community and for which we should continue to strive. The lack of tolerance demonstrated by Nichol and some members of the community concerns me. I hope that the production dispelled any uncertainties these individuals may have had, because the Sex Workers’ Art Show wasn’t just about sex, but about preserving ideals of acceptance we hold so dear at the College.
p. __Joanna Sandager is a freshman at the College.__