Not too long ago, colleges and universities were expected to function in loco parentis, fulfilling a parental role toward students and holding students responsible for their moral behavior. At the same time, the university was itself a place of dedicated learning — civilizing the rising generation and preparing students for leadership and service. Well, the times have changed.
In his 2004 novel I Am Charlotte Simmons, author Tom Wolfe introduced his readers to the reality of collegiate life. Increasingly, it’s all about sex. As columnist David Brooks of The New York Times explains, “Highly educated young people are tutored, taught and monitored in all aspects of their lives, except the most important, which is character building. When it comes to this, most universities leave them alone. And they find themselves in a world of unprecedented ambiguity, where it’s not clear if you’re going out with the person you’re having sex with, where it’s not clear if anything can be said to be absolutely true.”
The university lies in ruins. The character of the university has been corrupted and, in turn, the university now threatens to corrupt, rather than to educate the young.
Consider the fact that Yale University — founded in 1701 as an orthodox alternative to the more liberal Harvard — is now boasting of its status as the nation’s top university when it comes to what is now called “sexual health.”
From the September 26 edition of the Yale Daily News:
Yale may be consistently ranking third in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of “America’s Best Colleges,” but when it comes to sexual health, Yale is on top.
Earlier this month, the University earned the top ranking in a recent survey by Trojan Brand Condoms about sexual health on America’s campuses. Trojan’s Sexual Health Report Card noted the resources the University offers to students facing a sexual-health crisis, the birth-control measures it makes available to students, the helpfulness of Yale’s Web site and special events like Sex Week at Yale in granting the top honor, said Bert Sperling, the president of Sperling’s Best Places, the research firm that compiled the report.
Axel Schmidt ’09, a volunteer Peer Health Educator, said he thinks Trojan’s ranking is a testament to Yale’s forward-thinking philosophy on sexual health. Peer Health Educators is a student organization that holds workshops for incoming freshmen about Yale’s sexual health resources and provides other services, such as distributing free condoms in residential college entryways.
“Yale’s commitment to having a progressive stance on sex education and sexual health issues is what deserves credit for this,” he said. “Yale doesn’t have to sit the freshmen through who knows how many hours of educations, between Sex Signals and the Connections workshop. But that really says something about Yale’s philosophy that they put all the information out there and make it available.”
Oh, it’s out there alright. Sex Week at Yale is now a legendary experience in debauchery. As the university’s press release explained, the week “is dedicated to the exploration of love, sex, intimacy, and relationships at Yale University. This biennial week, currently in its sixth year, has one mission: To get young people talking about sex and sexuality as they experience it everyday. In other words, Sex Week aspires to create a national, ongoing dialogue about the disconnect between what young people are taught about sex in school and in society, and what they actually experience.” We can’t even begin to discuss what they are experiencing.
From the campus paper again:
For most students, Sex Week at Yale may simply be an excuse to attend humorous lectures or participate in unconventional, even titillating workshops. But for the evaluators of Trojan’s Sexual Health Report Card, the event represents much more: a valuable effort to increase understanding of the importance of safe sex on campus. Sex Week was one of the most important features in Yale’s sexual-health arsenal that helped it earn the top ranking in Trojan’s recent survey, Sperling said.
“Yale did very well across the board,” he said. “It was far and away the number-one spot, especially when we looked at, for instance, the extra events and programs that are available, like Sex Week at Yale.”
So, Yale is celebrating its winning score with regard to sex on the campus. Keep that in mind the next time you hear the elite universities brag about their mission of intellectual enlightenment. When truth and culture are debased, sex is all that remains.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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