There’s fun — and then there’s sheer shamelessness.
The University of Portland in Oregon recently showed it knows this all too well.
A tennis player for the college was reportedly kicked off the team Tuesday as punishment for giving a “misogynistic speech” at a student-athlete banquet — sad, considering these events normally serve as a special occasion to celebrate the best and brightest a college has to offer.
Goutham Sundaram emceed the banquet, and he began his remarks by saying he was going to “make the stage [his] locker room,” according to Olivia Sanchez, a student and member of the rowing team; she wrote a column about it for the school’s newspaper, The Beacon.
“Sundaram’s speech detailed his sexual pursuits during the last four years and explicitly stated his main goal throughout college was not academic or even athletic, but sexual,” Sanchez wrote, “to get white women to sleep with brown men.”
Calling her fellow student’s comments “viciously misogynistic,” she added that she felt trapped in her seat. “This event was mandatory,” she noted.
“My coach would have yanked me right off that stage, and my parents would have taken away any privileges I had — they might have even stopped paying for college if I pulled that — I’m not kidding,” a freshman at Middlesex Community College in Bedford, Massachusetts, told LifeZette.
Perhaps this is the natural result of the “me culture” on college campuses today — it’s all about celebrating the individual, and about advancing sexual freedom and sexual identity expression. Topics once never discussed are common themes between students and professors today. And don’t forget student rights, and then therapy animal and “safe space” time. With all of this, it’s a wonder there’s any room in the day left for academics.
Sundaram’s remarks were not laughed away. The men’s basketball head coach, Terry Porter, a former NBA player, walked out of the event, though university president Rev. Mark Poorman remained seated during the speech, Sanchez noted.
During the speech, Sundaram even besmirched Gandhi, saying the famous Indian leader “didn’t fast for 20 days so that I could get to America and not sleep with white women,” Sanchez reported.
Sundaram was taken off the stage but, incredibly, he continued to emcee the event, according to Sanchez.
“This night was supposed to be about me,” Sanchez noted. “About all of us. Instead, it was a ‘locker room’ — one that I was excluded from since I couldn’t get the joke. The ‘joke’ was never meant for me. Sundaram’s words were actively marginalizing all the women who have worked hard all year for this.”
The school’s athletic program sent out an email and included an apology from Sundaram, The Beacon said in a subsequent article.
Former University of Portland tennis player, Goutham Sundaram, had an award ceremony speech that was so offensive someone said reading his words was "assault" https://t.co/IhHncxECFS pic.twitter.com/WQPJpXvXuD
— Law & Crime (@lawcrimenews) April 17, 2018
“I would like to address what happened,” Sundaram said in part. “I want to apologize for taking away from the focus of the night. The night is meant to celebrate the excellence of student athletes and I would like to apologize if I made any people uncomfortable.”
Poorman also apologized in an email, reported The Oregonian.
“These offensive statements do not reflect us, and they do not reflect our mission,” he wrote. “As president of the university, I remained at the event to honor those who gathered to celebrate student athletes, teams, and athletics staff for their many accomplishments in the past year.”
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A statement released by the Associated Students of University of Portland on Monday evening called Sundaram’s speech “a stain on our university and our fellow students,” adding, “It is apparent that we as a university have an arduous road ahead when it comes to conversations of misogyny, rape culture, and sexism.”
One would hope common decency would be added to the list. But that may be all too unlikely, given today’s progressive campus culture.
Deirdre Reilly is a senior editor for LifeZette.