Read a response from Kathleen Deignan, dean of undergraduate students at Princeton, at the end of this article.
With President George W. Bush only a year away from departing the White House and the Republican succession in turmoil, some of the most prominent conservative intellectuals and activists have gathered together for one last great crusade. Movement icons from Robby George of Princeton to Harvey Mansfield of Harvard, from David Horowitz to Brit Hume, raised howls of persecution when they heard reports that two masked men allegedly attacked a conservative Princeton University student. They insisted that the right-wing acolyte was beaten up “for his conservative views,” as Horowitz put it. And they accused Princeton of failing to protect conservatives and upholding a hypocritical liberal double standard. Unfortunately, the trumpeted cause collapsed when the victim turned out to be a hoaxer.
The embarrassing episode for the conservative leaders began last week when Francisco Nava, a junior at Princeton, appeared at a hospital with cuts and bruises covering his face. He claimed that two unidentified men repeatedly bashed his head against a brick wall, shouting to “shut the fuck up.”
Nava is a member of a student group called the Anscombe Society. Named for G.E.M. Anscombe, a British philosopher who opposed her country’s involvement in World War II, the group was founded to promote “a chaste lifestyle which respects and appreciates human sexuality, relationships, and dignity.” The Anscombe Society explained its abstinence advocacy on its website: “The nature of this sexual act is itself unitive–two become one flesh. Sex is thus the actualization of the marital union, concretizing the mutual gift of self between the partners.”
Nava, a Mormon, claimed his troubles began when he wrote a column for the student newspaper, the Princetonian, titled “Princeton’s Latex Lies.” He warned that “the infectious threat posed by Princeton’s hookup culture” would spread if the school continued its policy of free condom distribution. “What Princeton’s condom campaign amounts to is a tacit sponsorship of hookup sex,” Nava declared.
Nava claimed in the wake of his column that he and other Anscombe members were bombarded by death threats from liberal students enraged by their brave stand against promiscuity on campus. Princeton jurisprudence professor Robert George, a former Supreme Court judicial fellow, conservative star and occasional White House adviser, also reported receiving death threats as the faculty adviser to his student, Francisco Nava.
On December 13 the Princetonian published a column by an Anscombe member demanding justice for Nava’s persecution. “There is an intolerable double standard here–one that the University must erase if it is to be true to its own core values,” Princeton sophomore Brandon McGinley insisted.