(Intro paragraph courtesy of a conservative webpage, "Behind Liberal Lines.")
Porn & Perversion: Ivy League smut highlight of the Cornell cultural experience
Beyond the orgies of Risley Hall and the debauchery of Slope Day, there is a preponderance of low-brow elements that dominate campus life here at Cornell. They range from student productions at the community centers to movies shown at the campus theaters. Cornell graduates have worked hard to build the reputation of this school; we must work even harder to maintain it. This cause is not helped by the utter depravity of campus cultural life. At a school that prides itself on political correctness, how can there not be any sensitivity towards good taste?

(Cornell dorm) Risley Votes to Purchase (stripper's)Dancing Pole
Copyright 2004 by The Cornell Daily Sun, Inc.


ITHACA--"When people hear 'dancing pole' they think of stripping," says Nick James '04, explaining why the approval of a $324 free-standing dancing pole might raise some eyebrows on campus. Risley Hall's "Kommittee," the representative body that vets such purchases at Cornell's arts-themed dorm, approved the purchase at a Feb. 8 meeting.

"[Students] began researching this years ago, when there were other students in Risley who did performance art involving a pole," Kommittee chair David Schoonover '05 said.

"There are several people [in Risley] with a solid background in dance and/or circus performance who saw this as an opportunity to participate in a fun and challenging activity and teach others the same skills," explained Kommittee member Erin Brewster '04. Brewster said that Risley residents also took inspiration from the makeshift dancing pole used by Eco House at its dance parties.

In deciding whether or not to make the purchase, some students and residential staff were concerned that students would equate the pole with lewd acts.

"When [the pole] was proposed two weeks ago there was one student in the room who thought it was perhaps too risqué, so we did the right thing and advertised the proposal around the building," Schoonover said.

"There's nothing overtly inappropriate about having a dancing pole, just like there's nothing overtly inappropriate about a paintbrush," said Ben Ortiz, residence hall director. "It all depends on what you do with that pole or that paint brush," he added.

Proponents of the pole posted flyers and emailed the building listserve to let people know that a discussion about purchasing a dancing pole would take place the following week, as is required by the Risley charter regarding any possibly contentious issue.

The meeting on the 8th had a thorough discussion of the pole's merits, after which the body voted to approve the purchase. However, some students felt that the funds used to purchase the pole could have been better suited elsewhere.

"My personal opinion is that [it's] a lot to spend on a dancing pole, [that] money could have gone to other programs," said Residential Advisor Dave Garman '06. "But there was ample opportunity for people against it to voice their opinion," he added.

"I've talked to some people who thought it was a little frivolous," James said, adding that the expense was comparable to many of the dorm's events and party-related sound equipment.

Ortiz explained the financial implications behind the purchase. "As far as our budget is concerned, it's not a huge drop in the bucket," Ortiz said.

Ortiz, and others interviewed for this story, expressed concern that the purchase of the pole would feed into a perception of Risley as something of a campus oddity. Such perceptions have been fueled in part by the story, passed-down in campus circles, of an orgy that occurred at a Risley event in 1999. For Brewster, and other Risley residents, such perceptions are harmful, ill-informed caricatures that say more about campus public discourse than about their vibrant, "close, [and] supportive community."

Robin Liu '07 thought the pole, like "make your own sushi at Appel Commons," would draw students to attend Risley events.

"I guess it will be okay because it will draw people to Tammany on Friday," Liu said, referring the dorm's regular entertainment program.

Spalding Warner '07 agreed. "Curiousity itself will draw people in," he said.

Article List.