One forgotten aspect of the controversy that followed the unfounded charges of rape against three members of the Duke lacrosse team is the outrage expressed by the university’s administrators, leftist professors, and feminists over the fact that the lacrosse team had hired strippers for a party. Duke’s president, Richard Brodhead, stated that even if no member of the team raped anyone, “whatever they did was bad enough.” Meanwhile, some professors compared the lacrosse players to slave masters.
The college proceeded to adopt a special rule to prevent any repeat of this atrocity: strippers now cannot “be invited or paid to perform at events sponsored by individual students, residential living groups, or cohesive units.” Critical race and feminist theory aside, the rule though quaint is not necessarily to be despised.
But recently, as Stuart Taylor reports, the university itself has invited and paid strippers to perform on campus. And not just strippers. In January, Duke played host to a group of strippers, prostitutes, phone-sex operators, and others in a “Sex Workers Art Show.” Duke spent $3,500 from student fees and various programs to pay the performers and cover expenses. And, as one might expect given this roster, the nudity was just about the tamest part of the show.
Duke, of course, defends its sex workers show on the theory that these performers are “artists touring university campuses across the country to present a show with political discussion, musical theater, and displays of sexuality.” According to Taylor, the political discussion at Duke consisted of one performer claiming that women are driven into the “sex industry” because the “only other option is working a minimum-wage job or less,” a claim that was undercut when one performer said she had left a regular job to make more money for “my extravagant partying lifestyle.” In fact, it turned out that several performers were college graduates with other career options available to them.
As Taylor concludes:
If only the lacrosse players had understood [the p.c. game], they could have lined up university funding to hire a better class of strippers: college-educated white people spouting vacuous political bromides. . .