In Response to: Respect and consent

I thank Brian Zack ’72 for his kind words about my teaching (letters, July 15). I’m happy to confirm that we are indeed friends.

Dr. Zack is “at a loss” as to why Professor Londregan and I find his support for a campus love and fidelity center “especially impressive in view of his commitment to an extremely liberal view of sexual ethics.”  It is, he says, “precisely this liberal view that entails respect for all sexual choices not harmful to others, including, of course, chastity.” Let’s not leave him at a loss. Not a single liberal member of the faculty or administration has stepped forward to offer support for our proposal. Despite the efforts of many dedicated students, no progress has been made toward establishing the center. Recently the administration informed the students that the University will not establish it. Dr. Zack’s support is impressive because it is so rare.

We can relieve Dr. Zack’s puzzlement in another area as well, albeit at the cost of some indelicacy. We pointed out that he “regards no consensual sexual practices as so degrading, depersonalizing, or dehumanizing as to warrant exclusion from the University’s support.” His letter confirms that this is his view. He notes his emphasis on “consensual” and says, “With this proviso, I am hard-pressed to imagine what the professors have in mind.”

Here goes: consensual adultery, “open” marriages, promiscuity, anonymous sex, sado-masochism, group sex, “water sports,” sex with animals, sex with corpses, coprophelia … let’s stop there. Dr. Zack is certainly entitled to his view that the University should support such choices, though we disagree. Our point is merely that the good doctor’s holding this view makes his support for a center to serve students who hold and seek to live by an opposing view all the more impressive.

Robert P. George