If the father of our country were a teenager today, he might not want to go to the university in our nation’s capital that is named after him. Our first president composed his Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation at the tender age of 14.
Among his admonitions:
• “Let your recreations be manful and not sinful.”
• “When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body, not usually discovered.”
• “Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out of your chambers half dressed.”
Flash forward to the campus of George Washington University in the winter of 2007. “Even if you have not personally witnessed a performance of ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ perhaps you have been exposed to the degrading promotional materials being used to draw an audience,” Meredith Jessup wrote on February 12th in the GW Hatchet. “As a senior at GW, I have walked past an oversize papier-mache’ vagina every year and, to this day, continue to wonder about the contradictory nature of this unconventional advertising.”
“As passing pedestrians purchase vagina-shaped cookies and are photographed with their heads inserted into a strategically-placed aperture, it makes little sense of how embracing vulgarity and misogynistic stereotypes is going to make the world safer for women.”
Jessup is an officer in GW Republican Women. As it turns out, the campus GOP may itself not exactly be the last redoubt on campus for the traditional values George Washington held dear.
“Some College Republicans executive board members said an event the group sponsored honoring traditional marriage should never have taken place,” Brandon Butler reported in the GW Hatchet on February 15. “Last week the organization announced an event in which wedding cake and palm cards would be handed out to promote the Republican position in favor of marriage between a man and a woman.”
Why is that now a partisan distinction? At that, it may barely be that unanimous; The GWU GOP executive council vote was 6-4 against holding the demonstration.
“According to the minutes from the group’s Feb. 5 meeting, six of the 10 members of the College Republicans’ executive board voted against organizing the event,” Butler reported. “Four members, including chairman Gary Livacari, voted in favor of the event.”
“A statement released by the six members of the ‘majority’ of the executive board on Wednesday afternoon criticizes Livacari for holding the event.”
Also, on the week before Valentines Day, a sophomore was arrested on drug charges when found in the possession of marijuana and cocaine. “This is at least the fifth incident this school year in which a GW underclassman has been charged with intent to distribute an illegal drug,” David Caesar reported in the GW Hatchet on February 15.
The president of the Student Association, meanwhile, vetoed a measure passed by the SA senate that would have reduced the penalty for marijuana use, Sarah Karlin reported in the GW Hatchet, although he said that he wants to reach a compromise on the issue. “The whole idea that we are still punishing people for marijuana is an absurd anachronism,” GW sociologist William Chambliss told Karlin.
What would George do?
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.