Imagine you wrote a college paper about sex that included this passage:
… The safest [sex] occurs between a husband and wife in a drug-free, lifelong monogamous relationship. The concept that a condom provides safety is wrong from a number of perspectives… The psychology department can enumerate the emotional costs of “one night stands” and “hook-ups” at the bar. The heaviest burdens fall to women, but men carry the results of socially and personally irresponsible behavior, too — sometimes until they die. Safe sex is a lie outside of a marriage, on- or off-campus, for better or worse. Condom distribution tables in student centers don’t create safety no matter what a committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics says.
You would fail. Nothing in there makes sense. Sex within a relationship isn’t always safe. It’s entirely dismissive of same-sex relationships. Condoms are incredibly effective, certainly compared to the alternative but also on their own merit. People can have hook-ups without some kind of emotional aftermath. This passage is nothing more than stereotypes and generalizations, devoid of any understanding of the subject.
Now realize that the passage was written by Walter V. Wendler, the President of West Texas A&M University and this is part of an article about lies told on university campuses. (Safe sex, he says, is “Lie Number One.”)
And then realize he sent that post to all students and staff in a school-wide email.
No wonder a petition at Change.org called for a formal apology.
Dr. Wendler misrepresents scientific research to cast doubt on the effectiveness of contraceptives while appealing to heterosexist prejudices. His remarks foster discrimination and alienate LGBTQ+ members of the university’s student body.
Dr. Wendler owes the faculty and students of West Texas A&M an apology. His email tarnishes the institution’s reputation and damages the school’s goal of creating an inclusive, diverse space for learning.
That petition got more than 430 signatures by yesterday night. And it may have had an effect since Wendler has now “apologized”… and by “apologize,” I mean he takes back nothing.
Dear WT Community,
I published a piece earlier this week that caused hurt and a lack of pride and belonging within our University community. This is never my intention and has been an undesirable consequence for an institution of higher education. I am sorry for what I said — it was insensitive and not representative of the University that I am charged with representing.
Notice that he doesn’t admit he’s wrong. He doesn’t bother correcting his mistakes. So what’s he actually “sorry” for? Sounds like he’s just sorry people were bothered by it, but not that he said harmful and untrue things.
At least he also linked to a more sensible group’s explanation of safe sex. This one’s from the school’s LGBTQ group Buff Allies.
The question remains, though: How the hell did someone so ignorant about an issue that plays such an important role at any college manage to become the school’s president? If he can’t get the facts straight on an issue as straightforward as safe sex, why would students or trustees trust him on the more complicated issues they face?
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Omar for the link)