LTTE: NOD helped make me into who I am
Thanks to the glory of social media, I have watched the controversy of NOD vs. EOE with interest for the past couple of years. I loved NOD. It was crucial in my growth as a sex-positive queer individual, and I thought my voice might be useful in this conversation.
I recognize problematic aspects of the NOD of 20 years ago that mirrored problematic aspects of a society that had a primitive view of sex and gender. That discussion has flourished since my last time nude on campus, and I am grateful it continues. NOD has evolved and should continue to evolve. I hope women and LGBTQ+ folx are well-represented on the organizing committees or are at the very least involved in the planning of what ought to be an inclusive event.
Despite its limitations, NOD was an event in which eroticism was valued rather than shamed. For a 20-year-old who had absorbed puritanical stereotypes that constantly battled against their free and curious spirit, it was heaven. The nostalgic among you can try to track down my column entitled “Nudity Offers Liberation,” which appeared in a fall 1995 issue of the Thresher. The short version is that I went to my first NOD that fall and ran in the Baker 13 Halloween run shortly after. The experience impacted me enough to, well, write a column about it.
I agree with the recent editorial that EOE is direct competition for NOD, and it is framed in a way that is meant to demean NOD itself. The “alternative to NOD” is the same as the alternative to any other campus party: do something else. To throw another Rice party at the same time suggests that the decision not to attend NOD is somehow different from the decision not to attend Rondelet or Archi Arts or whatever Will Rice College tries to do these days. Part of my mission as a sex-positive person is to erase judgment of others’ consensual sexual choices. Attending NOD is one such choice. That choice transformed me.
More from The Rice Thresher
Before you attend a counseling session at the Rice counseling center, you will be told that “the RCC maintains strict standards regarding privacy.” You will find statements from the university that your mental health record will not be shared with anyone outside of extreme situations of imminent harm, and only then that your information will be shared with only the necessary officials. This sounds great, except that these assurances bear no teeth whatsoever — no enforcement agency ensures that Rice follows its public confidentiality promises, and there are no penalties for Rice if they break them. The Wellbeing and Counseling Centers should more directly communicate the limits of their confidentiality policies when compared to unaffiliated counseling centers, and students in sensitive situations should take the necessary precautions to protect their information.
This week marks the last issue of the Thresher for the year, and for the seniors like myself, our last issue ever. I have been a part of the Thresher since freshman year. And it would not be an exaggeration to say it has defined my Rice experience. As someone pursuing a career in journalism after graduation, there has been no better place to learn than at this paper.
In January, the Rice Board of Trustees announced plans to move the Founder’s memorial to another area of the academic quad as part of a whole redesign, adding additional context of his “entanglement” with slavery. This comes despite continual calls from the student body to not have the enslaver displayed in the quad regardless of the context provided. It would be just for these calls to action and the majority of the Task Force Committee who voted to not keep it there that the Board of Trustees decide to not keep the memorial prominently displayed in the quad at all.