Like most universities, the University of California, San Diego strives to assure parents that their university is a safe place for the children that parents will be sending there. These parents trust the University with the physical and mental well-being of their children. To assure parents, the Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention Resource Center at UCSD has a web page entitled “UCSD Parents and Families–Frequently Asked Questions” that has this wise statement:
“Sometimes victims and survivors feel responsible, or are made to feel responsible, for what happened to them. Know that experiences of sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking are not your student’s fault.”
I totally agree. But maybe that statement needs a slight tweak, courtesy of CNN: “But it may be the parents’ fault, especially if they complain about dirty old men on our faculty who pressure their children to get naked for final exams.”
Just hours after Mother’s Day, CNN responded to the shocking events at UCSD (50-something male professor requires his entire class to get naked in front of him to take their final exam) by providing an incredible response from Peggy Drexler insisting that that the real problem in this story was the mother who complained about the situation, not the man behind it. (See, but don’t look too closely due to the appalling photos from CNN’s lewd related stories, the story “Helicopter mom wrong on naked exam,” May 13, 2015.) The mom who felt that her daughter had been victimized and dared to challenge this unsafe university is the one we need to blame. She’s just a “helicopter mom” who refuses to let her little girl be an adult. This, from the radical professor of gender studies who tells us in her book Raising Boys Without Men that boys raised without fathers but lesbian mothers are actually even better off than when raised in a more traditional family with a father (see the review by Albert Mohler). The hostility of Drexler and CNN toward a mother in this case really surprised me, but given the warped politics and moral debauchery of academia these days, nothing should surprise me anymore.
When the adults in charge have lost all common sense, when the “normal” heavy drinking and sexual promiscuity of co-ed dorms is base enough for a university, when anybody in an authority position can require all the students in a class to get naked in front of members of the opposite sex, there is a need for parents to speak out, even when the class is optional. The fact that the nudity requirement was announced long before the final exam does not make it acceptable, in my opinion, but I recognize that is just my opinion. My point is that when something that may be highly questionable is going on, to expect the students to be only ones with the right to object is unreasonable. Parents ought to be able to do more than fork over cash.
Hurray for parents who are to stand up to authority figures that put their children in harm’s way, even when they are 18 or older. Sometimes young people, even after age 18, need parental help, and not just financial help.
I’ve raised four boys. I know how hard it is for them to be different and to challenge local school authorities when things are absurd or out of control. We’ve had long discussions about some of the problems they’ve seen and in a case or two, felt a need, with their support, to step in and speak out to school authorities. Nothing that drew media attention, thank goodness, or CNN would surely
have let the world know that the problem was the parents. Yes, that was high school, not college, but parents ought to still care and be ready to protect when there is an abusive situation and pressure on the child.
Many parents will pay large amounts of money to the university to fund the
education of their children. Many will continue to be responsible for their children long after graduation when they find that their major does not seem to have any value with the people who need capable employees. Parents should be able to speak out against abuse and sexual exploitation without being blamed as if they were the problem, not the perpetrator.
The parents’ page at UCSD also states:
Sexual assaults most commonly take place between acquaintances in familiar surroundings. SARC
educates students on this issue using various campaigns and workshops. SARC also provides comprehensive services to victims, including individual and group counseling, support groups, on
campus advocacy and accompaniment to police interviews, medical evidentiary
exams and court dates. SARC is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year.
Just wondering of SARC has looked into this case. What is being done with the photographs from the final exam? Maybe this is a non-issue, but has anyone asked? Were there hidden cameras? Open cameras? Anything done to prevent photographs from being taken and shared? Any counseling offered to the students? Any recognition of the abusive situation this created? Any actual adults there at the University who don’t live in a fantasy land where anything is OK (except parental objections)?
Children, young adults, and even older adults need moms. Moms who do more than just pay for their miseducation. We need moms and dads, in fact, though it doesn’t always work out that way. We need to support parents in their parental roles as protectors, not just check writers, and not blame the mom when a seriously misguided professor at a university instructs a daughter or a son to undress in front of the opposite sex for a final exam or for any other purpose.
Universities are not especially safe places these days. Some seem to condone binge drinking. Most seem to condone and promote promiscuity. Abuse of many kinds is far too common. A friend of mine, while on the faculty at a philosophy department at a major US university, told me it was common knowledge in the department that one professor had required some of the females in a class to sleep with him to get a good grade. That’s not safe. I’m not aware that any of the victims had the courage to share the problem with mom and have mom step in, but they would have been better off to resist that pressure and not go along. One good “helicopter mom” could have helped. Might have been blamed, censured, and ridiculed, but she would have helped.
Hurray for moms and dad who dare to challenge the insanity of universities. My condolences to the students at UCSD. Stay close to your parents. You may need more than just their moral support based on the quality of education you seem to be getting.
Note: The class in question was optional, and the requirement for nudity in the final exam could, according to the professor, be fulfilled in other ways without necessarily taking one’s clothes off, though the desired and intended outcome is obviously full physical nudity, and that’s what all the students did in this year’s class and apparently that’s what nearly everybody does, though I read one one report of someone in the past keeping their clothes on. The optional aspects, like optional attendance at the university itself, does not lessen the questionable nature of the requirement for nudity in a final exam at a university, especially one running on tax dollars, nor does it lessen my discomfort with blaming the mother instead of recognizing the obvious problem of student nudity in front of a professor.
Yes, I admit that I have strong biases and may be overly harsh in viewing that activity as unwise and lewd. But I think parents should be able to speak out about the environment their kids are in without being treated like they are the problem.