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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

BADASS debators talk naked dance and administration’s role

Published: March 21, 2008
Section: News

The Brandeis Academic Debate and Speech Society held its second public debate of the year Tuesday arguing whether or not Brandeis administration should restrict events with nudity.

In this Parliamentary style of debating, the government and opposition sides were represented by two teams of two. Leader of government, Evan Green-Lowe ’10, and member of government Mariel Gruszko ’10 spoke to defend administrative restriction. Leader of opposition, Jack Bouchard ’10, and member of opposition, Carly Greenberg ’11, spoke against administrative restriction of events.

Debaters took turns delivering their speeches and magnifying the faults in the other team’s logic. They focused on two events: Liquid Latex and The Less You Wear the Less You Pay Dance.

Leading off was Green-Lowe who established three essential points in the six minutes he was given. He first argued that these events objectify people, as those who participate in these events are viewed as sex objects rather than as fellow students. Secondly, he argued that the rights of the administration allow for restrictions of potentially harmful events.

Green-Lowe delivered his last point by asking, “what should college be?” He contended that fun in college should not and is not being naked for less money.

Next up was Bouchard who, like Green-Lowe, presented three core arguments. His first and most passionate argument was that attendance to the events is optional.

“Administration isn’t putting a gun to my head to go naked to an event!” said Bouchard in explaining his point.

He continued, questioning whether administration should legislate and decide what appropriate and acceptable ways of expression are. He argued that these events are not illegal and should not be prohibited.

Before Bouchard proceeded to dispute Green-Lowe’s reasoning, he concluded in his own argument that these events are freedom of expression and will lead to the progress of determining the essence of human sexuality.

Gruszko followed Bouchard by rebutting nearly everything he said. She first acknowledged that although attending the events may be optional, the events themselves are not completely consensual. “The atmosphere of the campus changes due to these events, whether you choose to attend them or not,” said Gruszko. “There are many social pressures and people will be talking about [the events] before and after they happen.”

After Gruszko finished, Greenberg delivered her speech, which consisted mainly of refuting material against the government’s stance. She brought up the fact that Yale and Columbia both have these types of dances and it has not been a problem for them. Also, operating in a school as active as this one, “the atmosphere blows over so quickly…its effects aren’t a big deal.”

Because this was a public debate, members of the audience were given a chance to express their own opinions on the issue. Four people from the audience stood to speak their minds.

One audience member who sided with the government stated, “we are given the false illusion that our campus is totally secure without any repercussions.” He explained that detrimental photos of the events can be posted online for anyone to see, including future employers.

Another audience member, who sided with the opposition, explained, “we do get funding from alumni who like these forms of expression.”

While attendance fell short that night with only about 20 people in the audience, BADASS still provided a solid debate for them to see.

“It was a great debate,” said Lital Shair ’10 who spoke to The Hoot after the debate. “I enjoyed having people bring up different points of view without administrations response to protecting or prohibiting freedom of expression and whether the dance or Liquid Latex actually constituted free speech.”

“I was really judging based on the holes in their arguments” said Amanda Hecker ’10 after the debate. “At the start, it was basically just a flip of a coin.”