by Cheryl Price
They say UH students are uninvolved in university issues and programs and that the administration only makes snail-paced progress. But I've seen students and administration alike whipped into a frenzy, given the "proper" motivation.
Last year, I helped produce "Sex, Lies, & Duct Tape." As a Resident Advisor, I had been challenged to produce programs involving controversial subjects like abortion, Proposition 187 and race relations. I, along with other RAs, did not find these topics nearly as intriguing as dominance and submission, sadism and masochism, leather and other fetishes. We contacted the National Leather Association and a psychological specialist for a panel discussion.
Unfortunately, some students did not like the idea of the program or its advertisements. Perhaps the hook phrase "Whip me, beat me, make me beg for more!" on some fliers made in a late-night stupor were a bit much. We hoped the front-page Daily Cougar article would pique more interest in spite of its minor errors.
Boy, did it ever. Another department complained about sexual harassment and was investigating pressing charges. We pulled all offensive fliers and sent a statement of apology. Campus religious groups complained UH was advocating immoral sex acts and was not addressing the virtues of abstinence. They suggested a protest. We found security and informed UHPD. We also submitted a statement to the Cougar that no university money was used for the program, as all services and materials were donated.
In the end, charges were never pressed, the program was never canceled, and the religious groups took a more productive route by doing their own program. "Sex, Lies, & Duct Tape" was immensely successful and educational. The 300-plus attendees learned that the fetishes were about power, control and role-playing and often had little, or nothing, to do with sex. Although several elaborate scenarios were given, there were never any graphic descriptions of sex acts and certainly no live performances. It spawned two front-page articles, a photo, a cartoon and countless letters to the editor in the Cougar.
So this is what it takes to beat students out of their apathetic slumber and get the administration to pop its riding crop on progress? Should the Students' Association president wear leather to get more students involved with student government? Do we have to handcuff ourselves to Financial Aid to get our scholarships and grants applied before the semester is over? When a silly little program merits more attention than athletic overspending, chronic parking problems, or massive administrative turnover, then you know UH has misplaced more than its priorities. We have not only forgotten what our REAL problems are, but how to fix them.
I do know one thing: If I ever need anything done at this university, I am going to speak softly and carry a big whip.
Price is a senior hotel-restaurant management major.