Supervision Absent

Letter to the Editors

To the editors:

I read with interest the story (News, “Ruined Snow Penis Stimulates Debate”, Feb. 24) on the giant snow penis structure. Where was the comment from Harvard’s administration? What if students had built a snow sculpture of a Nazi swastika or the confederate flag? As a sculpture, a snow penis can’t cause much direct harm, but it clearly serves as a powerful symbol of sexual dominance and gendered violence. Would Harvard’s administration have been so deafeningly silent if students built a sculpture that symbolized race dominance or ethnic cleansing?

Query whether there isn’t a relationship between the administration’s silence on the offensive nature of a giant penis and the fact that only sexual harassment against women (but not other kinds of harassment against gay or black students) is subject to the college’s offensive new “corroboration” requirement in Ad Board proceedings.

One could infer that Harvard’s administration found the sculpture stimulating rather than offensive.

Wendy J. Murphy

Feb. 24, 2003

The writer is a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School. She is an attorney representing students in Title IX complaint against Harvard filed with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights regarding new sexual assault policy.