Letter to the Editor: President Rose Encourages Uncomfortable Discourse But Won’t Talk to Me at the Urinal

May 16, 2016

Dear Harpoon Editors,

In his inauguration speech, President Clayton Rose said that we here at Bowdoin must “exercise a willingness…to be deeply uncomfortable down to our core.” So why did he ignore me when I tried to talk to him when we were both using urinals in the bathroom near his office?

I loitered around Clayton’s bathroom, waiting for him to make his 2:21 p.m. pee run like I usually do, finally working up the courage to engage with him. After I walked up to the urinal next to Clayton, I asked, “Want to get full-throated?” In response, Clayton did what he warned against in his inauguration speech: he turned away and made no attempt to push himself out of his comfort zone. I called after him, inviting him to go to the Women’s Resource Center nude photo-shoot exhibit with me. He just ran away faster. Why isn’t Clayton “willing to wade deeply into all manner of texts, films, and art” and experience a “deep emotional reaction” with me?

I think we all need to consider the outright incongruity of Clayton’s rhetoric and his actions. Our president must be committed to the liberal arts ideal in theory and in practice; it won’t do to have him abandon his principles just because we’re standing next to each other in the men’s room with our penises in our hands while urinating and he’s grunting a bit and I’m trying to get a little peek because honestly wouldn’t you?

I urge the Harpoon editors, and the rest of the studentry, to take up my humble cause. I am for free speech, the examined life, and the common good. Sometimes that involves being unafraid at the urinal.


The Bowdoin Doughface


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