Bill Brink | Thursday, January 24, 2008
The following passage can be found in duLac, Notre Dame’s student handbook, on page 105: “Because a genuine and complete expression of love through sex requires a commitment to a total living and sharing together of two persons in marriage, the University believes that sexual union should occur only in marriage. Students found in violation of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary suspension or permanent dismissal.”
In 2008, this may seem slightly comical, but because we attend a Catholic institution, the rules mirror Catholic tradition.
An attention-grabbing contradiction has since become apparent.
Inside my history notebook, which I purchased at the Notre Dame bookstore, I found an advertisement offering to save me up to 93 percent on magazine subscriptions. The first magazine advertised is Cosmopolitan. On the cover, next to Grey’s Anatomy’s Katherine Heigl, are the headlines: “Naughty Sex: 8 Hot New Positions We’ve Never Published Before” and “The Sexiest Things To Do After Sex.” Below that, Glamour magazine, with a headline reading “30 Things Every Woman Should Know About Sex By Age 30.”
By no means am I against naughty sex, nor do I particularly care whether magazines describing it are advertised in my notebook or not. But it made me think about the fact that a university that bans sex on its campus would allow these advertisements in notebooks bearing its name. Remember, this is the university that ordered Pangborn Hall to change a sign because it “took the Christ out of Christmas.”
Maybe I’m reading too much into this. An issue of Entertainment Weekly, with a picture of the Soprano family, is also advertised. I don’t think the University means to advocate the acceptability of organized crime. Maybe the University figured it would gain more money from the advertisement than it would lose in donations from radical Catholic donors who took offense.
Maybe the University never saw the advertisement before it went in the notebook. Maybe the University just doesn’t care what Cosmo thinks about aprÃ¨s-sex antics.
But it got me thinking.
I don’t think this will cause the University to unveil a vigorous anti-sex campaign, nor do I think it will repeal parietals and edit duLac. I don’t want it to either. Does the University care? Should I care? (If you’re wondering, I don’t. I’m all for Cosmo and it’s feminine secrets. It’s an invaluable resource for all men; its like Michael Strahan stumbled across Bill Belichick’s playbook. Guys can learn what girls really think.)
I don’t know what to think about it. I don’t know whether it never reached the desk of any university official because it’s so inconsequential and insignificant and my imagination is blowing it out of proportion, or if a fierce battle raged inside a business manager’s head as to whether to allow the ad and whether the revenue was worth the risk.
It made me think twice, but as of now, I’ve gotten nowhere productive.