February 1, 2008—
William and Mary school president Gene Nichol okayed students’ requests to hold the “Sex Workers’ Art Show” to be held on campus this week.
The show which features prostitutes, strippers and other sex workers performing their work is part of a nationwide tour that will take them to Harvard and the University of Michigan. The show was scheduled to take place at Virginia Commonwealth University as well but according to Reuban Rodriguez no student requested campus space for the event and the performers violated their contract with the school last year.
Nichol for his part told the Daily Express that he didn’t want to hold the event on campus, probably because he received so much criticism after last year’s event but “the First Amendment and the defining traditions of openness that sustain universities” convinced him to grant permission.. Yes once again the First Amendment trumps reason.
Not only will the show take place on campus but the Student Assembly approved using $2,200 in student fees to help pay for the show. Of course students who object to the show can’t choose to withhold a portion of their fees for this purpose. That’s how democratic the student government process is in higher education. We take your money and spend it any way we like it.
John Foubert who is an education professor at William and Mary and also researches sexual violence toward women and feels that exposing people, particularly men to pornography made them more likely to commit sexual assault.
Nothing like stoking the fire.
Yet that seems lost on President Nichol and the Student Assembly who are acting more like voyeurs than the responsible administrators and leaders that the parents and students expect them to be.