Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Remeber the scandal at YU? (one of them anyway)

At our campus, we have a Gay-Straight Alliance type group. I've walked past their room just to get a feel of who's involved. Basically see if there is anyone worth getting to know. It didn't seem like there was. I figured I'd have better luck at the gym, which I did. The problem with a gay-straight alliance such as this is it has no relevance. No direction. Few if any straight guys would go near the place, so even the name is something of a misnomer.

Contrast this with the situation at Israeli universities. Hebrew University has a very successful campus group called the Asiron Ha'acher (the other ten percent). The name suggests that there is a significant minority on campus, and the group strives to get them together. It does. With weekly meetings held in the university's Hillel house, the group fosters a sense of community and belonging and helps build friendships based not only on a sexual orientation but on everything from political views to literary taste. The group doesn't try to pander to the "straightim" on campus. They have a lively set of programs, from lectures to parties, and the group boasts the largest membership of any student organization at the college.

A far cry from the situation in repressed America, where a tiny office coordinates no activities that no one would attend anyway, all with a surprising lack of direction. Which is not to say that this group serves no purpose. There is a handful of people who hang out there instead of getting involved with the wider social life of the college. I can't be sure this is healthy, but it may provide a necessary outlet for some people.

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