FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The University of Vermont’s Culture of Violence

“If you could rape someone, who would it be?”

That was the question which appeared on a survey circulated by members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at the University of Vermont recently which went viral on the Internet.  UVM had once again lived up to its reputation as a place where wealthy kids from the Northeast, who can’t get into Ivy League schools, can come play in the snow for four years.

But why was this a surprise to anyone familiar with UVM’s culture of violence which dates back at least twenty years?  Who could ever forget the 1999 “elephant walk” in which freshmen members of the UVM ice hockey team were forced to wear women’s underwear, drink warm beer and liquor until they vomited, and parade around like circus elephants holding each other’s genitals? This incident resulted in suspension of the hockey season that year and the resignation of the University’s president.

Back in the early 90s alcohol was a contributing factor in the deaths of four UVM students in five years.  For all too many UVM students their motto is, “You can’t believe how drunk I got last night.”  More recently four officers of another UVM fraternity were charged with violating the state’s new hazing law enacted after the 1999 UVM ice hockey scandal.

UVM’s affinity for violence was reaffirmed by the announcement that it had entered into a partnership with the U.S. government-owned Sandia National Laboratories, known best for the fact that it designs, builds, and tests nuclear weapons.  Although Sandia’s research at UVM will not involve weapons of mass destruction, no one seems to care whether UVM is being used by Sandia to help legitimize its real business, instruments of death.  UVM will receive $9 million from Sandia.  Money still speaks.

Like most universities in the United States, UVM has an active ROTC program whose aim is to train professional killers to support the American Empire’s policy of full spectrum dominance.  Many ROTC students have four-year scholarships.  Upon graduation they agree to go anywhere in the world to which they are assigned by Uncle Sam to kill in the name of the State.  Ironically, UVM also has a premier medical school committed to saving lives rather than destroying them.

And then there is the case of Major General Michael Dubie, head of the Vermont National Guard.  For his role in sending young Vermonters to faraway places such as Afghanistan and Iraq to kill or be killed on behalf of the Empire, General Dubie was awarded an honorary UVM doctorate degree by the Board of Trustees.

The most exasperating aspect of UVM’s culture of violence is the indifference expressed towards it by the UVM board of trustees, administration, faculty, and students.  Neither General Dubie’s honorary degree nor the Sandia Corporation were ever discussed by the UVM Faculty Senate.  At most reputable universities, honorary degrees have to be approved by the faculty’s governing body.  Not so at UVM.

As an alternative, consider the case of Vice President Richard Nixon, who even though he was a graduate of the Duke Law School, was denied an honorary degree by the Duke Academic Council.  This same faculty governing body successfully blocked an attempt to house the Nixon Presidential Library on the Duke campus a few years later.

The real issue facing UVM is not the Sigma Phi Epsilon rape survey question, but rather how many unreported rapes have there been at UVM over the past twenty years as a result of the University’s benign neglect of its culture of violence?

Thomas H. Naylor is Founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University; co-author of AffluenzaDownsizing the U.S.A., and The Search for Meaning.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
We Are Winning
Graham Peebles
Climate Change, Extreme Weather, Destructive Lifestyles
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Mel Gurtov
Saving Democracy
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Negin Owliaei
Toys R Us May be Gone, But Its Workers’ Struggle Continues
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail