Happy Graduation!

Today is Lawrence University’s Commencement, when several hundred seniors receive their degrees in tents set up on the main lawn of campus; faculty wear all their finery, and friends and family come to watch & celebrate. It’s a big day a crowning achievement, and for me, the first time I’m seeing a big group of students I’ve gotten to know over time graduate. I will no doubt get teary because I’m a sap like that. This is my 3rd in attendance.

The best news is that the one & only Russ Feingold is our commencement speaker, which is just too damn cool.

So congratulations, Lawrence seniors! Well done!

What Does a Feminist President Look Like?

Oh yes: Not just Obama, but his VP Joe Biden, who in a recent interview on NPR about rapes on college campuses, said plainly:

Look, folks, rape is rape is rape.

Among the points made by the administration, are:

— When a woman brings a complaint that she was a victim of assault, a school cannot punish her for using alcohol or drugs. In most allegations of sexual assault, alcohol is involved. Laws in every state say when a woman is drunk to the point of passing out, she can’t give consent. But some women have complained that when they went to school administrators to say they’d been sexually assaulted, they ended up getting punished for breaking school rules on drinking or using drugs.

— Schools must fully inform a person who brings a complaint of her or his (men are victims in about 6 percent of assault cases, according to federal officials) rights to an investigation and then they must be told the outcome of the investigation. Some schools thought they could not tell the victim the result of an investigation because it would violate the privacy of the alleged perpetrator.

— Even if a student is said to have assaulted another student in off-campus housing, the school must investigate.

— Schools must investigate in a timely manner. Some schools told women they could not get involved until after local police completed a criminal investigation. That often left a woman on campus — and even in the same dormitory or classrooms — with the man she said had assaulted her.

I would like to see this same points used to investigate accounts of hate crimes, too.

Coach Still Fired

The NYT did get around to covering the firing of that lesbian/pregnant coach in Nashville I reported last week. Here’s the part that baffles me:

Asked if having openly gay faculty and staff members could create a conflict with the university’s Christian character, Mr. Dickens said, “there could be.”

Here’s the bit I can never work out: what about the other sinners? Homosexuality is not the only sin in Christianity. Are they going to start firing people for greed or gluttony? For not attending church services? The bullshit of targeting homosexuals – and not other “sinners” – seems obvious to me, and I don’t understand why no one seems to understand that singling out one kind of sinner – amongst so many choices! – is where the discrimination becomes apparent.