Barbara Kay: University of Toronto ‘values’ are OK on orgies, but not an Olympian-producing rifle club
National Post - Friday January 18th, 2013
Yesterday I wrote a post here criticizing the University of Toronto’s Sexual Education Centre (SEC) for its active collaboration in a sex orgy at Toronto’s Oasis Aqua Lounge, a water-themed swingers club, where full nudity, group sex and voyeurism thereof is permitted “everywhere but the hot tub.” I suggested that the SEC call themselves by their rightful name: “Pimps R Us.”
OMG. I used the O-word. What? Orgy? Noooooo, said the SEC spokesman, no orgies here. We don’t do orgies. Nossir, no ma’am, what gave you that erroneous impression? Ha ha. No, it’s more like – as we’re informed today, a “Sexy Social.” Yeah, that’s it. That’s the ticket.
Not a single rifle club member ever contracted a STD while on its premises in 88 years of operation
According to the latest report, SEC’s purpose is to foster a “sex-positive attitude in the greater U of T area.” I personally was unaware of the fact that there was a “sex-negative attitude” going on in the U of T area, but I’ll take their word for it.
Still, even if there is a sex-negative attitude that needs correcting, I’m morally certain orgies are not the optimal way to go about it. Orgies are nothing new, and they have never made it into polite society, because everyone knows they are degrading to human dignity. Remember your Roman history? Do Nero and Caligula ring a bell? Role models for sex-positivism? Not.
Reports of the orgy – sorry, my inner Orwell will not allow me to use the term “sexy social” – must have caused a flurry of discomfort within the university administration. For in short order I received an email from Laurie Stephens, the university’s Director of News and Media Relations, informing me that the orgy (sorry, the “event”), although tasteless in the minds of many, was not illegal, and was NOT (her caps) being organized by the U of T per se, but by the SEC, which (even though it is housed on university property and receives automatic funding through union-dues collection) is an “independent” organization.
Ms Stephens wrote that “The activities of student groups are subject to the University Policy on the Recognition of Campus Groups, according to which the University will not attempt to censor, control or interfere with any group on the basis of its philosophy, beliefs, interests or opinions expressed unless and until these lead to activities which are illegal or which infringe the rights and freedoms of individuals in the University community.”
That’s a very high-minded sentiment. Will it stand the hypocrisy-o-meter? Let’s see. I am now passing my Google wand over the year 2007. And what’s this? A headline: “University of Toronto gun club holstered after 88 years.” It seems that the decision to close down the rifle club – even though, while “tasteless” to many, rifle shooting is perfectly “legal” – was “really a values issue,” according to Rob Steiner, assistant vice-president of the university at the time.
True, the rifle club only offered recreation and athletic training to its members and other users. It could not boast of turning sex-negative attitudes into sex-positive attitudes through attendance at orgies. On the other hand, it had never caused physical or psychological damage to anyone – not a single rifle club member ever contracted a STD while on its premises – and produced several international competitors in the sport of rifle shooting, including an Olympian.
But the U of T has values! And so, to the chagrin of its 450 members and many other thousands of students who enjoyed using its range –– the club had to be closed to meet the progressive standards of this proud institution. As Mr. Steiner explained, a gun range 80 years ago might have been “consistent with our academic values,” but “in the last ten years those values started to deviate.”
I then naturally raised the question with Ms Stephens of why, in spite of the vaunted arms-length guidelines quoted above, the U of T was able to shut down the rifle club with the speed of summer lightning because it didn’t like the image conferred by guns, but can’t interfere with the SEC when it endorses orgies as an appropriate social event for students.
Ms Stephens wrote back that “The University would like to decline further comment on this matter.”