As a recent female alumna, I read with horror your comments to the Boston Globe on September 8, 2002. I find your attitude toward women outdated and rather repugnant. I worked 2 jobs at a time, graduated summa cum laude with Distinction, fulfilled the requirements for majors in German Literature and Sociology and a minor in History, was accepted into Phi Beta Kappa, and participated in a number of fulfilling extracurricular activities during my time at Boston University. Your comment that my and my female classmates’ presence on campus was a distraction to our male counterparts is abhorrent. I think that I contributed a great deal to the university during my tenure, and your implication that the women on campus run around husband- or lover-hunting belittles my achievements and the achievements of all of BU’s female alumnae and students.
In addition, your suggestion that the female students are somehow at fault for the male students’ hormone-riddled brains insults the integrity of all the students. The idea that women are at fault for inappropriate male behavior went out, I thought, with Bob Packwood, Tailhook, and the disheartening grilling on national television of Anita Hill by a group of old white men. To suggest that the men on campus are unable to concentrate on their studies because of women insults their intelligence and their achievements as well as those of the female students.
Your suggestion that a 60-40 female-male ratio is somehow detrimental to the university is an anathema to me. Women receive the majority of Bachelors degrees and law degrees awarded every year in the U.S., and they are at a parity with men in nearly every other field except engineering and the physical sciences. Boston University is simply a microcosm of a larger national trend. You discomfort with that trend is unworthy of your position as the head of a major university and your national reputation as an educator.
Your seeming obsession with the sex lives of the students is disturbing. Nearly every student at BU is of age to make those decisions for themselves. It is not your place as the president of a university to attempt to make them for the adults attending your university.
Finally, when you are looking for “fat” to cut from the budget, instead of cutting the professors that make BU an top-notch university, perhaps you should consider the bloated salaries and benefits awarded to administrators like yourself. You collect a $700,000 salary, and live in a house that BU owns and maintains for you. Your deans, the provost and other administrators also make hundreds of thousands of dollars (in some cases, quite rightly) and live in multi-million dollar homes owned and maintained by the university. The small classes you ridiculed in your speech were an important and stimulating part of my education, and the relationships I developed with some of those professors I still have to this day. To cut those classes is to rid the university of the very thing that makes it pleasurable to attend such a large school.
In closing, I have written and asked the Development Office to take me off their fundraising lists. I will encourage other alumni to do the same until this situation changes dramatically.
Megan Carpentier CAS 99