academies of easy virtue

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 15, 2008

Pity the family of high-rent hooker Ashley Dupre, having to endure the spectacle of her harlotry splashed by the media nationwide and beyond. Things could be worse, though. Had she lost all sense of shame, were she wholly incapable of blushing, their daughter might have become a university president. How could they ever live it down?

If you have a high tolerance for the risibly incongruous, and if your kids aren't peeking over your shoulder at the monitor, take a quick look at the article in yesterday's Washington Post on the upcoming papal visit, titled "Catholic College Leaders Expect Pope to Deliver Stern Message." The Catholic educators in question are hastily covering themselves with their togas at the news of an interruption and preparing to repeat the conventional excuses. They've peddled their honor on the street for 40 years, yet universities are still -- in 2008 -- warbling the "But We're Virgins!" refrain. Beyond parody.

School presidents insist that truth-seeking is part of their institutional purpose. "Every university is committed to the pursuit of truth," said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia, "and we want to ensure that there is the opportunity for both academic freedom and for the free exchange of ideas and opinions across all issues."

If tomorrow you found yourself hired as a college spokesman, could YOU deliver that line with a straight face? I didn't think so. Nor could Ashley. It takes a special ... something. It also helps to have a non-retentive memory. Zap back for a second to 2003, when an extern leafletter exchanged the wrong ideas and opinions on the Georgetown campus (protesting a pro-gay Supreme Court decision) and found himself face to face with the Freedom Brigade:

The student passing out the brochures was a member of TFP Student Action. After learning of the student's presence, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson instructed the Department of Public Safety to escort him off campus. He complied without incident, according to Interim Associate Director of the Department of Public Service Doris Bey.

"We want to ensure that there is the opportunity for the free exchange of ideas and opinions across all issues."

Red Square is a designated "free speech zone," according to the Student Handbook. The handbook, however, does deny protection to certain types of speech."Expression that is indecent or is grossly obscene or grossly offensive on matters such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation is inappropriate in a university community," it states.

"We want to ensure that there is the opportunity for the free exchange of ideas and opinions across all issues."

Olson cited this exception in his decision to have the student removed. "The individuals removed from campus were spreading a message that was grossly offensive, and I view the removal as entirely appropriate," he said.

"We want to ensure that there is the opportunity for the free exchange of ideas and opinions across all issues."

In a broadcast e-mail sent on Nov. 25, Olson alerted students of the action. He specifically reaffirmed the University's commitment to the LGBT community. "I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender members of our community enjoy the right to study, work, and live in a campus environment of respect and protection," he said. "Intolerance and invective have no place at Georgetown."

Got that? The university exists to ensure that all ideas get a free hearing -- provided they're ideas the university wants to hear. I wonder what they charge for that trick.

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 17, 2008 8:59 PM ET USA

    I fully expect a defense of Ashley Dupre to be launched on Catholic university campuses throught the nation, especially those that have hosted the " Vagina Monologues." After all, "Heaven will protect the working girl."

  • Posted by: - Mar. 15, 2008 3:48 PM ET USA

    Everyone knows of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Does anyone recall Sapientiae Christiana (it was issued in the late 1970s). A good priest-lecturer staked his reputation on the fact that " this would create a firestorm". When US "catholic" colleges and universities shrugged it off, he withdrew from public lectures as he said that an institute which does not enforce its laws is moribund. This will be Vatican "try" number THREE.