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The Sexperts: Asking the Right Question

Sexperts.jpgLast week D columnist Jasper Hicks ‘12 had the temerity to ask whether the College should be funding a campus group called the Sexperts (not to be confused with the memorable 1965 film of the same name). Needless to say, he was pilloried by the well-meaning, who asserted the importance of this program (budget unknown; aren’t they all?).

The College’s work in this area seems to have experienced a good deal of mission creep, moving from basic issues of birth control, reproductive health and sexual hygiene to include activities relating solely to diverse forms of sexual pleasure, including a workshop on bondage and information on practices that first came to this author’s attention many years ago in certain merchant marine ports of call.

(Disclaimer: Just kidding. I was never in the merchant marine.)

Response to Hick’s opinion in The D’s comments section and another D column asserted how very, very important it was that students be educated in this type of thing — that sexual pleasure was a critical part of life.

Now I don’t disagree with the latter proposition, but it strikes me that the argument on both sides is missing a step: neither side asked the central question that should animate all budgeting debates at Dartmouth:

Is the proposed expenditure the highest and best use of the College’s limited resources in accomplishing its mission?

The Trustees defined the College’s mission not too long ago, as follows:

Dartmouth College educates the most promising students and prepares them for a lifetime of learning and of responsible leadership, through a faculty dedicated to teaching and the creation of knowledge.

My opinion, and I think that it is easily defensible if you accept the above terms of debate, is that Dartmouth would be better off spending money to hire additional professors in those departments where students are routinely turned away from oversubscribed courses, rather than educating students about the various means to sexual enjoyment (as opposed to sexual health). With the smarts necessary to merit an Ivy League education, I am confident that our undergraduates have the ability to research that special question for themselves.

Note: Advancing the argument that there are a great many other programs at the College that do not meet the above test will not get you anywhere. In fact, by doing so, you make my point for me. Once funding for the Sexperts is cut back, we can move onto the many other wasteful programs whose funding impedes Dartmouth from offering the quality of education that one should expect here.


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