Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Black Eye for the Black and Gold

A Black Eye for the Black and Gold
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
August 21, 2018

For the record, I am no prude, no one will ever accuse me of being politically correct, and my daughter and I each have a very good sense of humor.

That said, Purdue University, where my daughter is a freshman, was terribly irresponsible for hiring the aptly-named alleged comedian Andy Gross to perform at the close of BGR Saturday night, August 18. (BGR is Boiler Gold Rush, a week long orientation program for freshman students at Purdue.)

My daughter attended this event with friends, and subsequently left early with those very friends. She reported that the Gross routine was rife with offensive material including, but not limited to genitalia “jokes,” as well inappropriate remarks toward women.

Part of the gross shtick included having a female student stand back-to-back with Gross, then having her place her hand on his upper thigh. I know I would not want my daughter to be put in that situation, and from all accounts the young lady on stage was visibly uncomfortable (why she didn’t walk off, I can’t say), but remained a good sport.

The kind of bawdy so-called humor exhibited by Gross is akin to what adults experience at comedy clubs for 21 and older crowds who, faced with a two drink minimum will find virtually anything amusing. These are college freshman - some still as young as 17 years old. Make no mistake, I am not so naive as to think most of these freshman have not seen, heard, or even said worse on their own or from social media. 

That does not give Purdue University license to bring such deleterious material onto campus in an event sponsored by the university, and paid for by parents like me. Where was the vetting of this so-called “entertainer?” It took me all of a minute - my daughter would be proud of my on-line prowess - to find half a dozen videos of Gross performing his routine. Whoever hired Gross is out of touch with what is and is not appropriate on a college campus and perhaps should not be employed by a university.

Purdue University, heading into its 150 year anniversary, has a great tradition of excellence. My wife, an alumnus, and I, are proud to send our daughter there, and hope the next four years will see continued excellence. Boiler Up!

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.