This afternoon I received my latest copy of Reed magazine. I was stunned to read a short article (“Pantheon to be Robed,” December 2013) reporting that the annual fall Pantheon had been found in noncompliance with Title IX because of some combination of nudity and loud, rude calls for libations. I had some naive belief that the opening class Pantheon was supposed to emulate the behavior of the Ancient Greeks as taught by the Reed classics department. Studying under Prof. Wally Englert, I was under the impression that full frontal nudity, and loud, rude calls for libations were not only tolerated behaviors, but almost required behavior at events in Ancient Greece.
This led me to imagine certain future scenarios: The title characters of HUM 110 arriving at the opening day of HUM 110 classes in a time machine and being expelled from the campus by Reed security for non-Title IX behavior. The Reed classics department rewriting Title IX compliant versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey featuring Achilles, Ajax, Odysseus, Hector, and Paris entering 12-step recovery programs; Helen being transported from Troy to a battered women’s shelter; and the massed armies of Greece and Troy confronting each other on the plains of Ilium to demonstrate their latest yoga postures. Alas.
I find it a little pathetic that students dressed as Greek deities, naked or not, aggressive or not, could inspire the sort of hand-wringing exercise described in the last issue of the magazine. I was hoping that Reed, of all places, would remain a place where politically incorrect humor would at least be recognized as such. Of course, I didn’t see exactly who was naked, so perhaps the aesthetics of the individual involved did not meet up sufficiently with the delicate freshman’s idea of a Greek god. Pity.
Editor's Note: In 2011 Vice President Joe Biden sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to all educational institutions receiving federal financial aid that clarified the interpretation of Title IX regarding issues of sexual harassment and assault. As a matter both of law and of duty, however, Reed is committed to maintaining a safe and supportive educational environment for every student—which means that complaints of harassment must be taken seriously, however light-hearted the Pantheon’s performance may have been.