It is just beginning to dawn on taxpayers that when they draw on their savings to send Johnny and Suzie off to one of those tax-subsidized communities known as the modern university for four years of learning, things are not exactly what they seem, or as they used to be.
University life has always been pretty wild, of course. But in my university days – starting at McGill in 1959 - it was never as wild as I wished, and as compared to later generations my friends and I were clearly deprived. Boys and girls had separate residences, and if you wanted to date a girl you had to check in with some surly concierge (who inevitably had a whisker curling from a mole on her chin) at a kind of barred entrance. She would ring the girl’s room to announce your arrival, and as you left the residence, perhaps lucky enough to be holding hands, you both knew that “have her back by 11 p.m.” was a standard requirement or the girl would be “grounded.”
Universities then operated on the basis of in loco parentis or in place of the parents, and the standard of institutional care and surveillance, especially of young girls, was expected to be that of a reasonable parent. Taxpayers had at least some standard of comfort. I do remember some pretty insane toga parties, and how fraternity houses always smelled of beer and cigarettes, even in broad daylight. And of course we all knew who the sallow-eyed rakes, and the “loose” girls on campus were. But we lived in the real presence of a kind of cosmic background radiation called “pregnancy,” the mere thought of which was worse than the Black Death. But the pill, women’s lib, abortion on demand, and moral relativism have changed all that.
A few months ago some freshmen at the University of Western Ontario figured that instead of calling in a few strippers for their Saturday night of beer-drinking in residence they would save themselves the money and call up some freshettes from downstairs. Within minutes a half-dozen drunk co-eds were parading down the residence halls in their undies, some already topless, to their room. The girls didn’t seem to care that one of the guys was filming their random sexual activity on his cell-phone and within the hour their breasts and fannies would be all over the World Wide Web. And it is impossible to know how either the university, or the pretty young girl who walked down the residence hall stark-naked to that room and threw herself legs akimbo over the face of one of the smiling boys would explain this to her father.
Last year, at the same university, my son reported heading home one evening and walking by a student house on university property outside of which there was quite a commotion, including huge trucks, spotlights, and camera crews, as if for a movie in the making. Turns out a first-year boy and a girl provided for him by an American xxx porn company had signed a contract to make a film and they were going at it inside the house. The university scrambled to discipline the culprits, and hush it up. But I am certain they failed to see the connection – however seemingly remote - between such random sexual actions and the fact that Western last year gave its highest honorary degree to Canada’s most notorious abortionist, Henry Morgentaler.
Now at McGill University explicit sex photos of undergraduates undressing each other “have sent school officials scrambling to reassure the more overprotective parents and members of the public that such lewdness is not condoned behaviour on campus” (National Post, p.A3, today). Overprotective? How about no protection whatsoever, and no intent to protect? Not condoned? How about exposing the ways in which the modern university has withdrawn completely from any moral oversight of student behaviour? The real wonder is that the news is taking so long to get out. Okay, there are still a lot of very serious students at our universities. And yes, youth is a time for excitement.
But the full story of how modern university campuses have in a few decades been transformed into tax-funded, drug and alcohol-infested havens of orgy and bacchanalia for our children has yet to be written.