For those of you don’t know, every spring a group of students hold an event called Crunkfest in the Worth Dorm courtyard. Crunkfest is essentially a lewd, sexual, and very public, adult themed scavenger hunt. Students preform sexual acts of all varieties on each other publicly and some consume illegal drugs openly. This event occurs on school premises and the administration seems to turn a blind eye to it. When you ask Swarthmore students about Crunkfest, the typical response is a chuckle followed by “that’s just Swarthmore”.
One would think that an event like this would be prohibited by an administration that cracked down on Phi-Psi for handing out bids with explicit images of women to their pledge class. Students expressed outrage that a fraternity would dare to show images of scantily clad women to their new members. While Phi-Psi’s actions were perhaps tasteless, they did not violate any school rules- but they are being punished as if they did. Some people were offended and Phi-Psi is a frat, so Phi-Psi was punished.
Meanwhile, every spring, students gather in front of the Worth dorms to “express their sexuality”. The events that occur at Crunkfest are undoubtedly more offensive than pictures of half naked women. Furthermore, having sex (and doing whatever else they do at this event) in public qualify public indecency. Anyone who happens to pass through Worth courtyard, not to mention anyone who lives in the dorms, are forced to witness the events of Crunkfest. Apparently, because some students can only truly express their sexuality by forcing passing students to watch them do it, the events of Crunkfest are ok. Similarly, students don’t seem to care as long as the actions aren’t associated in any way with a fraternity.
I reached out to Christina Hoff Sommers, a noted scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who is best known for her critique of late-twentieth-century feminist and her writings on feminism in contemporary American culture. On recent events at Swarthmore, Mrs. Sommers commented: “It seems to me that Swarthmore is suffering a serious bout of heterophobia. If you are going to have an “anything goes,” sexually permissive campus, then you must include the sexual preferences of straight young men. And straight young men like pictures of scantily clad women. On too many campuses, heterosexual masculinity is being marginalized and demonized–even criminalized– just as homosexuality once was. Why replace one set of prejudices and with another? What Swarthmore needs is more tolerance–as well as a visit from Miss Manners.”
For those who think this is unfair, just imagine if an event like Crunkfest was organized and sponsored by the fraternities. The ensuing uproar would almost certainly lead to the fraternities being kicked off campus in a matter of days -look at what happened to Phi-Psi for handing out bids with explicit pictures to their pledge class.
It seems that the administration has a clear anti-fraternity prerogative. Students will be allowed to hold parties and events that are explicitly sexual and offensive as long as they aren’t members of a fraternity. Fraternities, however, will be punished if they do anything that offends any group of students – even if they did not break any school rules.