An open letter to SHAC and the Student Union Treasury

John Moynihan

Dear Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) and Student Union Treasury,

I would like to applaud your recent decision to hire Bristol Palin as the keynote speaker for Wash. U.’s Sexual Responsibility Week. I do, however, have one small criticism: Why did the Treasury approve only $20,000 for the event? Why not the original $25,000 that SHAC asked the Treasury for? According to an article in StudLife’s Wednesday, Jan. 26 edition, Ms. Palin has charged up to $30,000 for previous speeches; since Wash. U. can afford it , why not offer her that amount, or more? Doesn’t she deserve it?

And doesn’t she deserve it because she is clearly the best, most qualified candidate for the position? Let us consider her qualifications to speak at Sexual Responsibility Week. Despite low scores from judges on the TV show “Dancing with the Stars,” Ms. Palin waltzed into third place on the votes of a devoted fan base . Her mother, Sarah, was a vice-presidential nominee in the 2008 election. At age 17, as a junior in high school, Ms. Palin became pregnant by her high-school dropout boyfriend, Levi Johnston . And now she is coming to Wash. U. to tell us about abstinence.

Who better to inform college students about college culture than someone who has never been to college? Who better to talk about sexual responsibility than someone whose sexual irresponsibility has been chronicled by every major news outlet in the country? The only people more qualified than Ms. Palin are the young women on MTV’s “16 and Pregnant.” SHAC, are they on your list of invitations for next year?

It seems that your decision is based on the idea that the best teachers are those with a “do as I say, not as I do” approach. Obviously, the best way to learn how to make good choices is from someone who has vast experience making bad choices. That’s why people with multiple drunk driving convictions teach driver’s ed. That’s why people who failed high school algebra teach calculus in college. That’s why drug addicts teach D.A.R.E. programs in elementary school.

On the premise that we can learn the most from the people who make the most high profile bad decisions, I submit the following proposal to Student Union Treasury: for the next academic year, I suggest that the Treasury pay for Bernie Madoff to speak about business ethics; for Osama bin Laden to speak about religious tolerance and for Ben Roethlisberger to speak about, well, sexual responsibility , .

I eagerly await both your reply and Ms. Palin’s speech, which I believe will be an informative, educating, enlightening experience.

With the utmost sincerity,

John Moynihan

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