CHITUC: Yalies for minding your own business

I am a Yale student who respects diversity of opinion, because a society where the ideals of one can be imposed on another is not a free one. With my love for diversity in mind, I would like to offer a criticism of Undergraduates for a Better Yale College. I may myself be in a committed and sexually exclusive relationship, but because I love Yale, I want to see her flourishing and unconstrained to the sexual practices I prefer and find to be the norm. This is the only position on Yale’s sexual culture consistent with the college’s stated mission of developing students’ “intellectual, moral, civic and creative capacities to the fullest.” It is intellectual in how it compels me to view the world from another perspective, moral in that it compels me to mature as an individual and promote the ideal of personal freedom, and creative because there are lots — and I mean lots — of ways to enjoy sex inside and outside of committed relationships. Undergraduates for a Better Yale’s message is a harmful one, and antithetical to the expressed mission it claims to promote.

If we want to affirm the dignity of all students, let’s respect their decisions and ability to choose and lead their own lifestyle instead of concerning ourselves with their sex lives. Most importantly, let’s promote a campus that has enough humility to admit that even at Yale, I am capable of being wrong, so it would be silly of me to ask everyone else to live the way I think they should. If there is one aspect of other students’ lives in which one should not stick his or her nose, it would be their sex lives.

Contrary to the statement by Undergraduates for a Better Yale College in an ad in Monday’s News, the “No means yes” chants and the complaints that followed clearly demonstrates that something is seriously wrong with Delta Kappa Epsilon’s attitude toward sex, not Yale’s. To take this as a symptom caused by the disease of a culture permitting casual sex rather than a result of the statistical inevitability that, in a student body of 5,000, some people are assholes, is silliness at its finest.

I firmly embrace Yale’s sexual culture (if calling the respect we show an individual’s personal decisions can properly be termed a culture), whether it’s gay sex, committed sex, casual sex or even missionary through a sheet with the lights out. At the age of 18, a college student is old enough to be aware of the consequences of his or her own actions. While casual sex may not be for everyone, thankfully, this is not a lifestyle forced on anyone. There is nothing indecent about any of our sexual urges, and promoting abstinence and labeling sex as self-giving love are perversely disrespectful and even objectify the body more than any casual hook-up culture possibly could. Such terms suggest that you do not own your body, and that it should be treated as something to be sacrificed as a token of your love. This is not a commendable and dignified attitude that leads to a better Yale; it’s a destructive and unhealthy one. I’m not criticizing those who wish to abstain from sex, but rather those that believe casual sex is categorically irresponsible, indecent and disrespectful and advocate spreading these unhealthy ideas about sex.

My sexuality is my own, not a gift to be given or an object to be saved, but something that is to be shared. The choice of who I share this with, be it with the woman I love, or that QPac girl I met at Toad’s my freshman year, is mine, and mine alone.

The sexual revolution and the secularization of society helped us give up demonizing fornicators decades ago. Let’s keep it that way. Because most importantly, Yale should stand for open minds and making progress, not enabling people who are uncomfortable with sexuality to get rid of Sex Week.

Alex Chituc is a junior in Silliman College and president of the Secular Student Alliance at Yale.

Comments

  • tisquinn

    Not all student communities of 5000 suffer from the sexual abuse and dysfunction that Mr. Chituk wishes to chalk up to statistics. Unless I am misunderstanding the above article, I can’t help but deem absurd the idea that the DKE chants and other sexual abuse are “statistically inevitable.”

    Yale has a sexual culture which is, inevitably, made up of the individual decisions that each of us make. And the community’s broader cultural attitudes have, in turn, an impact on the decisions of the residents of the community. To take a somewhat silly example for the sake of explanation, imagine a school where bikes are thought to be lame. The decision of each member not to ride a bike contributes to the prevailing attitude, and similarly, this attitude strongly discourages members of the community from riding a bike.

    Similarly, the individual sexual decisions made by Yalies coalesce into a broader sexual attitude. This is not to say that all members of Yale share this attitude, obviously they don’t, but there is without a doubt the pervasive sense at Yale that the pursuit of sex primarily as an ends to physical gratification is ok. To each his own, Mr. Chituk wants to say. But the connection between a Yale that so often sees sex not as an emotionally intimate experience but as a means to physical pleasure and Yalies who neglect the emotional and physical sanctity of others in the pursuit of pleasure, seems, if not obvious, at least plausible enough not to merit the out of hand disregard Mr. Chituk proposes. Perhaps the Undergraduates for a Better Yale College are wrong, but at they very least, we owe to ourselves and to our community to engage in a more serious and more fundamental investigation of sexual beliefs and attitudes.

    • CrazyBus

      I agree that a campus culture is the aggregate of individual choices and decisions. However, I disagree that the DKE chants and other sexual abuse (I assume you mean preseason scouting report, and the “We Love Yale Sluts” debacle) are particularly likely to happen at Yale. I don’t have statistics, but rationally, a larger school would be more likely to have more people willing to perpetrate such events, and also fewer people to call them into question. It seems to me that Yalies are less likely to tolerate such flagrant abuses, and thus a big deal is made at Yale by Yale students to draw attention to the issue, which is better, I think, then having these issues go ignored, which likely at larger schools, where the actions of a few are less interesting to the majority of the people (and where many people won’t even know about it.)

  • The Anti-Yale

    Change SEX WEEK to SAFE-SEX WEEK.

  • RexMottram08

    So tired and boring… does Ms. Chituc imagine this is more than hot air and wasted ink?

  • Kiki

    Wow. “that QPac girl” as the obvious opposite of a woman you might love. I guess you’re right about the statistical inevitability of the student body including a few a———es.

    • silliwin01

      He is just pointing out that most Yale students consider QPac girls as easy and emotionless hookup targets on Saturday nights, not women to pursue a relationship with – that isn’t exactly untrue, is it?

  • River_Tam

    > My sexuality is my own, not a gift to be given or an object to be saved, but something that is to be shared. The choice of who I share this with, be it with the woman I love, or that QPac girl I met at Toad’s my freshman year, is mine, and mine alone.

    Clearly, a QPac girl is only good for sex in Mr. Chituc’s mind. Which makes sense, I suppose. I hear she didn’t even make National Merit Semifinalist.

    • Standards

      That isn’t even vaguely supported by the text. Nowhere did the author limit QPac girls as “only good” for sex, simply that he is free to choose to share his sexuality with them.

      How about you stop projecting positions onto other people so you can complain about them. The only one here holding the position that QPac girls are simply sexual objects seems to be you.

      • River_Tam

        Why did he mention her school then? Because it was a lazy and easy characterization – her school (academically inferior to Yale) labels her as a girl who was only good for a one-night stand.

        As for my position – I find QPac boys to be sexual objects, but also refreshingly pleasant conversationalists after the pablum that a lot of Yale men tend to spew.

        • Standards

          >Why did he mention her school then?

          Because casual hookups with QPac girls at Toads is a Yale trope?

          You’re blaming him for suggesting QPac girls are sexual objects, because you’re inferring that QPac girls, being from QPac, must just be sexual objects?

          I find it ironic that you of all people would criticize others for their conversational pablum.

          • River_Tam

            > Because casual hookups with QPac girls at Toads is a Yale trope?

            You are using “trope” as a euphemism for “stereotype” and the author knew exactly what he meant when he wrote it and you know exactly what he means when you read it. “that QPac girl” is a synonym for “that brainless chick who gave it up that one night”.

            > You’re blaming him for suggesting QPac girls are sexual objects, because you’re inferring that QPac girls, being from QPac, must just be sexual objects?

            Nope. I am criticizing him for recycling the tired stereotype of QPac girls being unworthy of more than casual sex *as is obvious from the context of his sentence*. Let’s be clear – Mr. Chituc set up what was an obvious (from the construction of his sentence) contrast, and specifically referenced her school not because it was a part of the story, but because it was shorthand to him (and countless other Yalies) that this girl was a one-night unworthy of his further attention. It would be like me referring to “that Black guy who mugged me” or “that Jewish guy who cheated me” – sure it’s technically true and I can argue all day that there’s nothing inherently offensive about it, but at the end of the day, you and I both know that’s not true.

            > I find it ironic that you of all people would criticize others for their conversational pablum.

            It’s like rain on my wedding day. Cry me a river.

  • Standards

    I am increasingly unsurprised by the lack of reading comprehension demonstrated by the commenters here.

    Ignoring the frequent mispellings of the author’s name, Tisquinn seems to have missed the point on a humorous aside: The few people that carry out these actions are asses. There will be asses. The reason and the only reason frat students do this is because they can get away with it. The slaps on the wrist frats have gotten in the past obviously have failed to work. It makes no sense in the least to blame Yale’s “sexual culture.”

    Also I’m sure Rex, inability to pick up gender from contextual cues aside, I’d imagine would find UBYC equally tired and boring. Even more so. If you find supporting individual freedom and not forcing sexual values on anyone boring, then congrats. I suspect much of Yale disagrees with you.

    Kiki: you seem to have missed the point that one’s sexuality may be shared with whomever. Whether they are the one you love, or someone as statistically different as a QPac girl.

    I can’t tell if more idiots are being let into Yale, or if they all just congregate on the comment boards of the YDN.

  • Alexandra

    The article does not brand QPac girls as “only good for sex” or for only “easy and emotionless” sex. The author uses the QPac girl simply as an example of anonymous sex at Yale.

    Yes, nameless sex does sometimes happen, but that does not inherently mean that our nameless partner has been objectified or taken advantage of, nor does it mean that we are hedonists for engaging in it, as this article’s counterpart implies. Yes, it’s true that sex with the right person can be a meaningful and loving exchange, but that does not mean that is the only kind of sex that is okay to have. It is grossly unfair to blame those who engage in casual sex for creating a climate that encourages or forgives sexual harassment.

    The point of the article is that 1. we should allow students to have the kind of sex they feel comfortable having and that 2. it is not okay to condemn students for having casual sex and that claim sexual harassment will stop when we stop having casual sex. That being said, it is important to foster an environment in which those students who are not comfortable with casual sex are not pressured into it. As a person who has never engaged in (nor will ever engage in) casual sex, I do not feel that the so-called “hook-up culture” pressures me to change my own preference of when to have sex and with whom I want to have sex with, nor does it make me feel unsafe.

    • River_Tam

      The hook-up culture does not pressure so much as it seduces. And it does not directly make people feel unsafe – it changes the sexual climate.

      Things like inviting porn stars to campus, holding porn screenings, and turning a blind eye towards naked runs through the library make Yale less sexually safe, not more.

      • comp615

        I’m somewhat concerned that you’re advocating revoking all official support systems. By your logic, perhaps we shouldn’t give out condoms for free anymore because it encourages people to have sex and gives them the means to do so easily?

        Your concerns and solutions are misplaced. Forcing Yale to remove Sex week, or whatever it is you want, does not simply kill off the hookup culture at Yale. I think the point you missed in the original post is that, yes, removing official support systems diminishes how much Yale as an institution appears to support the hookup culture, but it does not change the people who go here, nor does it change the culture of the community.

        We’re experiencing the same symptoms with drinking on campus. This is college, people will drink, be promiscuous, whatever. But it’s crucial that we have an outlet for things like that, otherwise you should answer to the people who’s lives are ruined because they made a bad decision one night and couldn’t find a condom in their entryway or didn’t call their FroCo because they were worried their parents would find out. You don’t read about those stories because the Yale sex and drinking support systems are top notch and are designed to help students make better decisions in the future, we take the small loses of hookups at Toad’s and nights in DUH in exchange for preventing the major failures.

        As a final note, I also enjoy Firefly. So cheers to that.

        • River_Tam

          > I’m somewhat concerned that you’re advocating revoking all official support systems.

          Where did I say that?

          • comp615

            I’m assuming when you say “Things like inviting porn stars to campus, holding porn screenings, and turning a blind eye towards naked runs.” That this extends to removing Sex Week (which was the original debate). Obviously, I doubt anyone wants to remove condoms…but yet that follows logically from your argument: If we eliminate all things which encourage sex, sexual misconduct will decrease. I think Sex Week is equally about making people aware of sex safety as other topics (remember the Get Tested posters?).

            That’s why health classes in high school teach you about condoms instead of preaching abstinence nowadays, like it or not, people have sex and I think Yale acknowledges that and wants to do its best to ensure it happens safely and at an appropriate time.

          • River_Tam

            Removing things that encourage sex does not mean discouraging sex. Yalies are ostensibly adults. They can make their own decisions.

            I don’t support removing *support systems* if by support systems you mean things to help Yalies be safe and responsible (although even the gaudy “Get Tested” posters were just a way for people who appeared in them to tell the world “look! I have sex with multiple partners!” – people literally begged to be in them). I support an end to things like Naked Runs (and naked parties, although those are usually conducted in private so we’ll just have to let fools be fools), Sex Toy demonstrations, Masters Teas with pornstars, and freshman orientation talks that posit as the baseline assumption that you’ll be having casual sex with someone you just met.

            I don’t often say that the University has a responsibility to do X or Y, but the University has a responsibility to set the tone for sexual responsibility and respect, and they’ve failed incredibly on this front.

        • RexMottram08

          The entire hook-up culture is a failure. Jeers for that.

  • The Anti-Yale

    *Things like inviting porn stars to campus, holding porn screenings, and turning a blind eye towards naked runs through the library make Yale less sexually safe, not more.*

    Puritannical recidivism.