College Is No Place For The Sex Talk
This week, the administrators of Central New Mexico Community College, a public institution in Albuquerque, shut down until further notice the school's student-run award-winning newspaper, the CNM Chronicle. Administrators also attempted to confiscate copies of a run of the paper. The reason? The administration felt that the paper's sex issue was "offensive and not appropriate for the educational mission of CNM." The paper's editor-in-chief reported being ordered into the Dean's office and told the paper was "raunchy."
THE SCENE: The Office of the Dean at Central New Mexico Community College
THE TIME: Early evening.
THE CAST: RUDY GARCIA, Dean of Students, VERONICA JONES, his executive assistant, and ROGER TRUMAN, his deputy.
THE DEAN ENTERS, AGITATED, BRANDISHING A COPY OF THE CNM CHRONICLE.
DEAN: More press calls. More emails. More inquiries. I tell you, people in this country just aren't used to firm leadership.
VERONICA: Yes, sir.
ROGER: They're certainly unused to leadership of this sort, sir.
DEAN: The security staff has confiscated most of the copies of this filth, I think. [HE SMACKS THE COPY OF THE CHRONICLE AGAINST THE DESK IN DISGUST.] I can't believe they thought they could get away with this.
VERONICA: No, sir.
DEAN: I mean, I keep my distance from such things, but I suspect those are prophylactics on this front cover. And dog chew toys. What do dog chew toys have to do with anything? And why are they so big?
VERONICA: Actually, sir, those are —
[ROGER SHAKES HIS HEAD VIOLENTLY]
VERONICA: –those are for unusually large dogs, sir.
DEAN: Are they! Are they indeed! And why are they on the bed? And why isn't the bed made? In addition to the filth, why is our so-called student newspaper sending a message that slovenliness is acceptable?
ROGER: It's inexplicable, sir.
DEAN: It is! It is! With that sort of example, that's why the students dress the way they do! I apologize to both of you. It's highly inappropriate for this sort of thing even to be discussed in front of you. Especially you, Miss Jones.
VERONICA: Thank you, sir.
DEAN: The proper time for you to discuss such things is the morning of your wedding, with your mother. So I'm terribly sorry you've been exposed to this. And you, Truman.
ROGER: Yes, sir.
DEAN: It's no better for you. A man should not dwell on such things until, like the Bible says, you leave your father and mother and cleave unto your wife. Forgive my rough language, Miss Jones.
VERONICA: Yes, sir.
DEAN: Of course, you've already left your mother and father. But when you leave your roommate — what's his name?
ROGER: Vince, sir.
DEAN: — when you leave to join your lawfully wedded wife and Vince has to find a new roommate, that's the right time to think of such things.
ROGER: So I've heard, sir.
DEAN: Quite right! Quite right you have! But college? College is no place for talk of such relations, let alone for the relations themselves.
ROGER: No, sir.
DEAN: And to treat the subject so disrespectfully, and so wrongly! Why, look at this page where they talk about . . . . "positions." They are mocking the marital act. They're just making up things that don't even exist! They're giving them numbers! It's all just poppycock.
VERONICA: Yes, sir.
DEAN: What I don't understand is why we're getting calls from the so-called press about this. This is a matter of school discipline. This . . . is a matter of good order. Why should good order get so much attention?
ROGER: Well sir . . .
ROGER: It's just that . . . well, sir, these students are all adults.
ROGER: Right. This is a community college. Lots of these students are older than four-year college students. Most have jobs. Some of them have families of their own. Maybe the press thinks they are mature enough to handle this sort of discussion. These days, lots of them are even veterans —
DEAN: Mr. Truman, are you under the impression that soldiers are tolerant of ess-ee-ex talk? Let me tell you, military discipline brooks no such indelicacy.
ROGER: As you say, sir. But some people are saying that the paper has . . . has First Amendment rights.
DEAN: Rights! Rights! Rights yield to the interests of the community, as determined by people like me, Mr. Truman. That's the most important thing you need to know about modern higher education. I have risen to this position for a reason, and I determine what is fit for students to read.
ROGER: Yes, sir.
DEAN: We'll have no more discussion of this. The paper is closed. It will stay closed. Now, get me the course catalog. I've heard some very disturbing things about the curriculum in the Biology Department.
ROGER: Right away, sir.
Edited to add:
EPILOGUE: SEVERAL HOURS LATER
[DEAN GARCIA BURSTS INTO THE ROOM]
DEAN: Fine! Let everyone talk about relations! Let everyone talk about dirty stuff all they want! SEE IF I CARE!
[Runs from room weeping]
ROGER: . . .
VERONICA: Let's just pretend today never happened.
ROGER: Yes please.
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