WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – The same college that recently removed a traditional cross from the campus chapel allowed a controversial sex workers' show to come give students an event complete with stripteases, feather boas and sex toys.
The College of William and Mary in Virginia last week hosted a Sex Workers' Art Show for a crowd of more than 400 in an auditorium in the University Center, reported The Virginia Gazette. Another 300 people were turned away.
The goal of the show, which was sponsored and hosted by a number of student groups, was to empower the actors by portraying the realities of their careers, according to the Gazette. Money to host the event came out of student activity fees.
For example, Jo Weldon shared her story of how a stripper job helped pay her way through college and graduate school. But other performances were more risqué, reported the Gazette.
A woman named Dirty Martini, who weighed more than 200 pounds, did a striptease in a G-string and pasties, while a woman named Cono Snatch Zubobinskaya gave an anti-war performance that included a dildo shaped like a gun, the newspaper said.
But not everyone on campus was entertained.
"I think it's a totally inappropriate use of student funds," Ken Petzinger, a physics professor, told the Gazette. "It's in conflict with other values the college has."
President Gene Nichol issued a statement saying: "I don't like this kind of show and I don't like having it here … But it's not the practice and province of universities to censor or cancel performances because they are controversial."
Nichol has come under fire in recent months for his decision to order a cross removed that sat in the campus' Wren Chapel altar for more than 60 years. Nichol said his decision, which he made late last year, was aimed at making the chapel more welcoming to students of all faiths.
The school's Board of Visitors has sided with Nichol, even though some donors have said they will withhold donations until the chapel is restored.
"While William and Mary President Gene Nichol opposes the display of a cross in Wren chapel, he apparently is not offended by a display of campus cross-dressers," the American Family Association (AFA) said in a statement, as reported by CNSNews.com.