Sunday, May 20, 2007

UA Plans Total Campus Ban on Stroking

The University of Arkansas is scheduled to become one of the first universities in the country to completely ban masturbation from its campus. University officials intend to give the Fayetteville campus community and its visitors more than a year to adjust to the policy: the ban is scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2008.

"Obviously, this is a health issue," said Mary Alice Serafini, one of the deputy under assistant vice chancellors for meddling in student affairs. "Masturbation is harmful to anyone who does it, and even non-participants are harmed by second-hand strokes. We see a masturbation-free campus as a health benefit for the entire campus community." The draft policy is clear: Masturbation will be prohibited on all university property, indoors and outdoors, and the ban will apply to visitors as well as students, faculty and staff.

Bob Caudle does not intend to take this sitting down. “Our local institution of lower education, the University of Arkansas, is imposing a masturbation ban. Why is it there is always one group who perceives a solution and is willing to take command -- and often that group is crazy as hell? Uh, wait. Scratch that last statement. If it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, of course they're going to do it.

“This is just another case of a bunch of high-browed snits wanting to tell other people how to live their lives. The University masturbation policy was developed by Serafini, using a model provided by the Center for Disease Control. Students in the self-abuse prevention class taught by Dr. Ed Mink made several suggestions to campus administrators. Almost hidden in the hubris of the moment is this telling statement from the UA's Division of Student affairs: The policy was not discussed with the UA Faculty Senate, Staff Senate or Associated Student Government.”

Greg Harton is equally hard on the UA administration. “I’m not advocating masturbation, but there should be some concern about how far the government can go to prevent a person’s personal choices when those choices don’t adversely affect anyone else. The campus-wide ban on stroking — what today is a legal choice for adults to make — reaches past government protection. It attempts to stop individuals from freely choosing to engage in a legal activity that’s harming no one but themselves.

“The basis for such a far-reaching ban is (1 ) the UA administration believes it has the right to casually remove a person’s liberty to protect them from themselves or (2 ) the government believes it’s empowered to ban activity simply because it offends others and doesn’t match up with the university’s notion of what a person should be doing to themselves. It oversteps how far government should go in establishing an official standard of acceptable personal choice to be enforced on individuals. Even administrators probably have some unhealthy habits that they’d be better off without. If this stroking ban is embraced, they better watch out. Why not new rules about what they can eat or drink, how they have sex, how they treat their bodies and what they read?”

An editorial in The Morning News tossed off a similar argument. “Just because you can do something, it doesn't necessarily follow that you should. It appears, however, that the University of Arkansas is determined to proceed down the path toward a goal of banning self-abuse from the Fayetteville campus. We have a few questions, among them are Why? and, also, How? How is it that someone stroking, while sitting all alone in their room in Yocum Hall or in the attic of the Chi Omega house, threatens the well-being of another person? But, if we accept for the moment the university's good intentions in enacting such a ban, how will it be enforced? By whom?

“This is all preposterous, you say? Sheer exaggeration and hyperbole? Perhaps. But a little exaggeration may be a proper response to overreaction, which is what we think this policy is. But seeking out and eradicating this behavioral sin goes beyond the scope of public health concerns and moves onto the slippery slope of legislating morals and regulating personal behavior.”

Oh, they said smoking? Never mind.

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