Failure to notice the world in which we live, getting by without discernment of even a commonsensical strain, is failure to be adequate stewards of our responsibilities. I wager that of the thousands of students who have passed by the imposing campus Y building few have stopped to imagine what the thing is. The other night I took the opportunity to imagine and, after hours of research, I have no idea.
The Campus Y is simultaneously a department of the university (under the Division of Student Affairs) as well as a student organization. Or, rather, it is a collection of various and sundry student organizations. It had its beginnings as a YMCA and YWCA in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but in the 60s and 70s it dropped the Christian part and now “seeks social justice through the cultivation of plurality.” What does that mean exactly? Nothing coherent I can tell you.
My first direct encounter with the campus Y came last semester when I had some business in the newly renovated building. As I stood waiting, I admired the posters hung along the wall, strewn over everywhere. My favorite was the one that displayed the communist flag. “Is the Campus Y secretly a communist front group?” I thought. If so someone needs to work on the secret part. The Campus Y is involved with the U.S. Social Forum, a blatantly anti-American organization, it is involved with an event entitled the Social and Economic Justice Fair, it actively fights for “worker’s rights,” it campaigns on behalf of unions, and it believes in instituting a “livable wage” (as opposed to the minimum wage) for workers.
The Y is involved in the “progressive” movement in other ways as well. It was among the first to fight for an LGBTQ resource center back in 2002, starting a special committee, SPECTRUM, to focus on “education and outreach” for the LGBTQ community; it also came out against AIO Fraternity’s bout with the university over the right to deny people into their Christian Frat who were not Christian; it advocates for “equal access to college education” for illegal immigrants; it stands “in solidarity for the Palestinian people;” it holds a Race Relations Week in which there are such productive events as the “Mix it up Dinner” in which people of different races sit together (and feel good I suppose); also, it is decidedly anti-Iraq War.
My favorite Campus Y activities involve homelessness. Street soccer games are put on for the homeless; members of the Campus Y “sleep in” periodically for homelessness; and the Y has begun a magazine in which the homeless can write articles about, well, homelessness (the magazine is free btw).
Perhaps most bizarre is the Campus Y’s weirdness regarding the topic of Sex. The Y held an event entitled Carolina United on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 in which the “phrase of the night was ‘snap judgments’ as students discussed how quickly people judge others and how to avoid ignorant assumptions.” Aside from the Barney-like parallels that make me laugh, I fear I must inform the Y that I assume any organization that offers the service of condomgrams, “condoms attached to a personalized Valentines Day message,” is not worth the spittle used to seal the perverted telegrams it sends. The Campus Y’s official stance on fornication? “Sex is Cool.” (You can’t make this stuff up).
What is the Campus Y you ask? Who the heck knows, but it sure aint the YMCA. Rather, perhaps the Y should consider renaming itself the YPAA; the Young Peoples Atheist Association.