Category Archives: College

More Than Just “Offensive”

The outpouring of opposition to the College Events Board’s decision to make Tyga the headline act of Yardfest has been entirely warranted. The lyrics that have been circulated around campus attached to petitions for the last week are utterly vile, and anyone who objects to his coming to Harvard is justified in doing so. We should be careful, though, not to object on the grounds that Tyga is “offensive,” for the real problem is not that he is offensive. That charge alone does not provide sufficient grounds to rescind his invitation, and when the College Events Board and Harvard Concert Commission attempted to assuage concerns about “offensive content” in Tyga’s music in a statement released last Monday, they were dodging the issue entirely.

The charge of offensiveness is problematic for a number of reasons, all of which suggest that we have no absolute right not to be offended. First, the phenomenon of offense exists in two parts: that which gives offense and he who takes offense, and the existence of offense in any particular situation says as much about the latter as it does about the former. Sometimes, people are rightly offended at bad things. At other times, they are wrongly offended at things that are not so bad. The difference between being rightly and wrongly offended, moreover, can only be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Offensiveness is entirely unworkable as a standard of conduct, that is, as a standard by which we determine whether speech, behavior, etc. is acceptable, as it could easily include or exclude things improperly. Take the hypothetical example of a very misogynistic campus community. This community would not be offended by a speaker or performer whose message was degrading to women. On the other hand, it probably would be very offended by a guest lecturer who upheld the equal dignity of the sexes and condemned misogyny in the strongest possible terms. The problem in such a scenario is not the fault of the offending lecturer, but with the community that receives him with hostility. Furthermore, in this case, the community would be better served by hosting the offensive guest than the non-offensive one.

Finally, we must resist using “offensiveness” as a litmus test because its chief effect is putting a damper on discussion. There is little, if any, room for debate about whether something is offensive. Those who are unbothered by the matter in question will find the mere assertion of offense thoroughly unpersuasive, while to those who are offended will find that no further discussion is necessary. We can see this in recent debates over Tyga. While many students have signed a petition asking that he be removed from the program for Yardfest (and rightly so, I believe), other students have effectively responded, “I don’t find Tyga that offensive,” leaving the discussion at an impasse. In the interest of robust dialogue, therefore, we must resort to better, more engaging, albeit more complex, reasons to oppose bringing Tyga to campus.

The real reason to oppose bring Tyga to Harvard is that his music celebrates and promotes a debased and corrupting sexual culture. It strips sexuality of any semblance of dignity or beauty, replacing those attributes with a mentality of selfish exploitation. It removes love, commitment, and authentic and healthy relationships from consideration and views human beings as sexual objects, convenient tools to be used for one’s own pleasure. This view of human sexuality is incredibly degrading, especially to women, in Tyga’s case, and ought not to be celebrated at Yardfest.

In light of this, the CEB and HCC’s response to the controversy is unsatisfactory. They have moved Tyga’s performance to later in the evening, so that students will be able to eat dinner and leave before he takes the stage, but the problem with his appearance is not that his lyrics will shock and offend some ears. Rather, it is that he expresses themes about women and sexuality in his music that should not be welcome at all on this campus, regardless of whether or not certain offended students are made to listen to him.

As an academic community, Harvard should not be in the business of banishing that which some of the people in its community find offensive, which is largely a matter of perceptions, feelings, and visceral reactions. That which is socially corrupting, degrading to our humanity, and detrimental to our community, is a very different matter. Tyga’s music fits this description in its lyrics and themes, and it is for this reason that the College Events Board should never have invited him in the first place.

James P. McGlone ‘15 is a history concentrator in Kirkland House and the Vice President of the Harvard College Anscombe Society.

This article was originally posted in the Harvard Crimson. You can read it on the Crimson here.

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Harvard Anscombe Welcomes Karin Agness

Karin Agness Lecture

Karin Agness | Karin Agness is the Founder and President of the Network of enlightened Women (NeW).  She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Virginia School of Law.  After graduation, she practiced law at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, DC.  She is now the Director of Academic Programs at the American Enterprise Institute.  She has been interviewed on national television and radio shows, such as Fox and Friends, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN Early Start, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, The Laura Ingraham Radio Show and The Monica Crowley Radio Show.  She regularly speaks on college campuses and at national conferences for conservative groups.  She has had editorials published in The Washington Post, The Washington Times and The Richmond-Times Dispatch, and has been featured in PoliticoTime Magazine Online and More Magazine.  One of her stories appeared in the book Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles.  In 2012, she was selected for the Forbes 30 under 30 list for Law and Policy.

Sex, Discourse, and Harvard

When I arrived at Harvard, I did not appreciate the need for a group known as True Love Revolution. Yet, I did not know what it represented or the important role it served on campus by endorsing premarital abstinence and sexual integrity, upholding the institution of marriage and the family, and advocating true feminism. The group, which was formed in 2006, introduced a view regarding sex-related issues that often goes unheard. While these topics are incredibly salient in college, I was amazed by how often they are presented in a way that ignored the moral dimension of human sexuality.  This concern stimulated my interest in the group and motivates my involvement today.

This semester, the True Love Revolution seeks to continue the conversation, but we have renamed ourselves The Harvard College Anscombe Society. We have named ourselves after Elizabeth Anscombe, a Cambridge professor and celebrated British philosopher of the 20th century. In her work, Anscombe defended many principles shared by our organization, including chastity and the importance of marriage and the family. Inspired by her intellectually rigorous support for the group’s beliefs and by her witness to those values as a wife and mother, our group has renamed itself in her honor. The Anscombe Society joins other universities such as Princeton, Providence College, University of Texas, University of Pittsburgh, and Stanford in honoring Anscombe’s legacy. Although our group’s platform remains unchanged, our new name highlights the philosophical foundation and intellectual mission of our group.

Over the past six years, we have noticed that too often, “consent” is upheld as the only standard for determining what behavior is acceptable.  There is very little discussion of whether or not any choices are morally good or right, depriving students of an important lens by which to judge their own behavior. Thus the rejection of the notion that our sexual choices have a significant moral component seriously harms our peers. We believe that the views we espouse are not only morally true in the abstract, but also better choices for a healthy and fulfilling life. Thus, we have taken our role in presenting our views seriously, through such means as guest speakerseditorials, and debates. We have also found creative ways to spread our message, such as the Valentine’s Day campaign in which the True Love Revolution distributed chocolate kisses to freshmen with a note that said, “Why wait? Because you’re worth it.”  This semester, we have invited Karin Agness, the president and founder of the Network of Enlightened Women and the director of academic programs at the American Enterprise Institute, to discuss true feminism.

The Anscombe Society remains a secular organization that looks to what sociology, psychology, medicine, philosophy, and human experience suggest are the best ways to acheive the good of the person and the common good in the realm of sexuality. We seek to continue a tradition of stimulating campus and national discourse on a conscientious view of sexuality that strengthens marriages, fortifies civil society, and contests the merits of a hyper-sexualized culture.  We are excited to find support among national leaders, our faculty, and students, and we urge our classmates to think deeply about these issues and to subject the prevailing orthodoxies of our society to real scrutiny.

Luciana E. Milano ’14 is a government concentrator living in Pforzheimer House. She is President of The Harvard College Anscombe Society. This article was originally published in the HarvardCrimson. 

Register for the Intercollegiate Conference on Sexuality, Integrity, and the University

5th Annual Intercollegiate Conference on Sexuality, Integrity, and the University

Friday evening & Saturday, November 2 & 3, 2012
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey

Regular registration is now open. Register here!

Regular Registration will be open September 15 through October 5
Fees: Student Fellows – Fee waived; Students – $45; Non-students – $75
Refunds can be issued through October 22 for registered attendees who cannot attend the conference. Please note student fellows are individuals who have applied to become official fellows of the Love and Fidelity Network. Most are leaders of campus groups. For more information about student fellows, please visit the Getting Involved page.

The Love and Fidelity Network’s annual conference aims to connect college men and women to leading scholars and experts in order to equip them with the best arguments and resources in support of marriage, family, and sexual integrity.  Participants will also find ample opportunity to network with and learn from each other, and attend sessions to help develop leadership skills in bringing the “love and fidelity” message back to their respective campuses.

Conference Program

Conference attendees will hear from renowned scholars whose work spans from the philosophy surrounding the meaning of sex, to the connection between marriage culture and the economy, to the social effects of changing family structures. In addition, participating students will also have a chance to learn more hands-on techniques for branding their group on campus, using social media to advance their group’s mission, and building alliances with other communities on campus.

Friday, November 2, 2012

6:00 – 8:00 PM     Registration and Check-in

8:00 PM     Welcome and Opening Remarks
Dr. Paul Kerry, Brigham Young University

8:30 PM     A New Look at Home Economics:
How the Cultural Withdrawal from Marriage Contributes to Economic Weakening
Dr. Patrick Fagan, Marriage and Religion Research Institute

Saturday, November 3, 2012

8:00 AM     Breakfast

9:15 AM     Talking About Sex:
Its Nature, its Meaning, and How to Discuss it with Friends
Dr. J. Budziszewski, University of Texas, Austin

11:15 AM   Are the Kids All Right?
Lessons from the New Family Structures Study and the Public Debate
Dr. Mark Regnerus, University of Texas, Austin
Dr. Ana Samuel, Witherspoon Institute

12:45 PM     Lunch

2:30 PM       Why Knot? First Comes Love, Then Comes What?
Roland Warren, National Fatherhood Initiative 

4:30 PM    Winning the Campus: Breakout Workshops

A) Shaping How We Are Perceived : Branding Campus Initiatives
Patrick Dennis, Dennis Creative

B) Extending Your Reach: Communicating with Social Media
Mike Matthews, The Mobile Culture

C) Building Alliances on Campus
Dr. Robert P. George, Princeton University
Audrey Pollnow, Princeton University
Luciana Milano, Harvard University

D) Supporting Students in the Classroom and Beyond:
A Discussion among Faculty
Dr. Robert P. George, Princeton University
Dr. John Londregan, Princeton University

E) Linking Faith and the Language of the University:
A Discussion among Campus Ministry Leaders
Ali Smith, Christian Union

6:00 PM     Dinner

7:15 PM     Lessons from the Ground:
Student Leaders Share their Successes, Obstacles, and Advice

8:30 PM     Closing Remarks
Dr. Paul Kerry, Brigham Young University

Housing

The Love and Fidelity Network seeks to provide hotel accommodations in Princeton for undergraduate students participating in the conference on Friday and Saturday nights. Due to limited availability we will give preference on a first-come, first-serve basis. The sooner you register, the more likely it will be that we can provide accommodations for you and your group.

True Love Revolution officially renamed The Harvard College Anscombe Society

True Love Revolution is officially renamed The Harvard College Anscombe Society. We have renamed ourselves after Elizabeth Anscombe, a Cambridge professor and celebrated British philosopher of the 20th century. In her work, Anscombe defended many principles shared by our organization, including chastity and the importance of marriage and the family. Inspired by her intellectually rigorous support for our group’s beliefs and by her witness to those values as a wife and mother, we have renamed our organization in her honor. Our mission remains unchanged, but we think that this new name will be very important in continuing to build our club and further its mission on campus.

Anscombe forms part of Harvard’s Inaugural Fall Conservative Reception

The Harvard College Anscombe Society helped organize Harvard’s Inaugural Fall Conservative Reception. The event was a huge success, bringing over one hundred conservative students together from across the university. We were honored to host Rabbi Meir Soloveichik and have Dr. Robert P. George preside as the master of ceremonies.  We are very grateful to our supporting faculty, and we hope to grow this tradition!

Over 100 conservative students from across Harvard

Rabbi Meir Soloveichik

 

Professor Robert P. George

Professor Harvey C. Mansfield

Undergraduate students with Professor Mansfield

Anscombe Leaders and Professor George

Professor Jack Goldsmith

“Then there is the True Love Revolution, a Harvard group formed in 2006 ‘to give students a moral and political option in issues relating to sex and marriage.’ Its members believe that liberationist attitudes toward sex, sexuality, and relationships damage students’ health and well-being.'”  -Professor Ruth Wisse

In “Welcome To Freshman Disorientation,” published in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse, discusses how “student opinion at elite schools has lately been growing more varied.” She presents the mission of  True Love Revolution and mentions groups at Harvard like Harvard Right to Life and the Harvard Republican Club, suggesting that “conservatives in particular have become more outspoken.”  To read the complete article, click here. 

True Love Revolution Recognized in Wall Street Journal

Fox News on the Love and Fidelity Network

“…It’s this type of lifestyle the Love and Fidelity Network is targeting this Valentine’s Day with half-page ads in the campus newspapers of 18 mainly Ivy League colleges and universities, including Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth and Princeton.‬‪..

The ads, co-sponsored by the Let’s Strengthen Marriage organization, will run in connection with National Marriage Week, which ends on Valentine’s Day.

There are two different ads. One shows a heart-shaped puzzle with a few pieces missing. The caption reads: “There’s more to sex and relationships than campus culture suggests. We’re filling in the missing pieces. Join us.”‬‪

The other ad features a man holding a cardboard-shaped heart with the words “Will work for love,” on it. The caption is the same about “campus culture” except the tag line is, “And we’re doing something about it.”‬‪

Hough said she believes her organization is tapping into the heartfelt desires of young people today who want meaningful relationships.

She’s actually echoing a just-released poll of 13- to 18-year-olds by One Hope,‬‪ which reported that 82 percent of them believed God intended marriage to last a lifetime.‬‪

But there’s a big problem said Hough. “Young people growing up in a divorce culture have no understanding of how good marriages work.”‬‪ They’re inundated, she says, with sexual content in movies, magazines, and on TV like MTV’s explicit show “Skins.”

Then there’s the ever-present peer pressure on campuses to be carefree and casual in their attitudes about sex.‬‪..”

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TLR President named one of Harvard’s Most Interesting Seniors

Rachel Wagley, True Love Revolution’s current President, is featured as one of Harvard’s 15 Most Interesting Seniors in The Harvard Crimson magazine’s December edition.

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Harvard Cancer Society Sexualizes Cancer

Signs reading “Save Second Base” flooded campus hallways and public areas over the past few weeks. Bras hung outside the science center under the appeal, “Save Second Base”. While the purpose of increasing awareness about breast cancer is admirable, True Love Revolution believes that the sexualized approach was both demeaning and immature.

The Harvard Cancer Society used a sexualized campaign to raise awareness for breast cancer, but many students’ disapproval of the use of bras, sexualized facebook messages, and objectifying posters is encouraging. There is no need to objectify women to raise awareness about breast cancer. In fact, making cancer merely a sexual concern diminishes the importance of this incredibly serious disease. Should we only care about breast cancer as it relates to our own sexual gratification? Of course not, so why use such a degrading tactic to promote what should be a practically universal concern?

Sandra Korn, ’14, wrote in the Harvard Crimson about how the society’s campaign is offensive and unhelpful:

Breast cancer is not a sexual issue. It has nothing to do with femininity or female sexuality. In fact, around one percent of breast cancer patients are male. Raising awareness about breast cancer by displaying hot pink bras and joking about where we place our handbags not only demeans the experience of males and non-gender-identified people suffering from breast cancer but also equates breast cancer with sexual activity or sexual allure. This association could make many women uncomfortable, especially those enduring cancer themselves.

She also writes,

The Harvard Cancer Society should reconsider its marketing strategy for future breast cancer campaigns, and intelligent college students should think more critically before advocating “sexy” causes that might nonetheless be offensive or demeaning.

Follow this link to read more.

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