NU publicity policy lacks consistency

Bryan Tolles

Several weeks ago I was walking through Norris University Center and noticed a “Pin the Clit on the Vagina” game. What could have easily been an info session for virgin boys was actually an advertisement for the Vagina Monologues.

Later in the week I saw a few students wearing T-shirts with the word “twat” emblazoned on the front. The shirt stood for Totally Wicked And Tasty and advertised for the same show.

While I am no prude, it seemed that this group was using the eye-catching word simply to gain attention. The Vagina Monologues is a legitimate production. But its advertising borders on the inappropriate. Does Northwestern apply universal criteria when determining acceptable student behavior or does it apply different standards to different groups?

It seems that there is a double standard at work.

Although hard to imagine, think what would happen if a band of fraternity brothers sponsored an identical game to “Pin the Clit on the Vagina.” Without any irony at all, these frat guys would be doing exactly the same thing as College Feminists.

First, Kyle Pendleton, associate director of fraternity and sorority life, would have a mild aneurism. Second, Mary Desler, dean of students, would call those involved into her office. Finally, I would venture to say that the College Feminists would cause a racket and threaten to take action.

But what, exactly, makes the actions of the fraternity any less appropriate than that of the College Feminists?

Now let me provide a real-life example demonstrating NU’s existing double standard.

Two years ago, Kappa Sigma pledges painted The Rock with a reference to their dry fraternity house and to girls being wet. In less than an hour, Facilities Management had painted over the reference. In even less time, there was student outcry.

Granted, these pledges were advertising their own stupidity and not a worthy event like the Vagina Monologues. But the response to a group using a phrase deemed inappropriate is interesting. College Feminists promptly sent Kappa Sig a letter demanding a public apology and threatened to issue a complaint with Interfraternity Council. Of course, the fraternity issued an apology letter that its members mocked and ridiculed and soon the controversy was over.

It seems that College Feminists wanted to be catchy and controversial in their advertising for the Vagina Monologues. But it is unfair that the student population and the university applied standards differently.

Both Phi Delta Theta and Lodge have had their T-shirts deemed inappropriate and banned from campus. Why should the College Feminists’ T-shirts be any different?

My advice to the NU fun police: For the sake of consistency and fairness, apply the same standard to all students. After all, that is the only appropriate thing to do.

Bryan Tolles is a Weinberg senior. He can be reached at [email protected]