Saturday, October 1, 2011

In the matter of the violation of an informal taboo -

Baylor officials assess combat veteran's penalty

Waco – The deviance in violation of the kind of behavioral standard we take for granted and never question netted a war veteran harsh penalties.

Brian Oestheimer, 30, a U.S. Army veteran who is in his senior year at Baylor University, carried out an experimental assignment for one of the Sociology Department's top professors, Dr. Keith Dougherty.

As he made the assignment for the 250 members of the class to go out and intentionally violate some informal taboo, Dr. Dougherty reportedly disrobed to his boxer shorts and a wife beater t-shirt – to the bumused astonishment of the students.

Mr. Oestheimer went him one better when he arrived at an isolated stairwell of the Jones Library on the main Baylor campus, disrobed to a “man-thong” that exposed his buttocks, and paraded through the stacks, study areas and administrative spaces of the building.

Within a couple of days, the YouTube video of the experiment had received a phenomenal amount of attention – 1,500 views – as people spread word on such social Media as Facebook and Twitter.

That is when the Associate Dean of Judicial Affairs, Bethany J. McCraw, stepped in and summoned him to her office for an informal hearing to learn his side of the story after a library official reported him for violation of the university's dress and conduct code. She consulted with Professor Dougherty, according to Mr. Oesterman.

Offered a choice, he elected to accept three penalties. First, he is to be denied access to the Jones library and all department libraries indefinitely – until further notice. Second, he must perform 20 hours of community service at any of a number of on-campus departments listed by the authorities. Finally, he must keep a daily reflection journal on what he has learned from his mistake.

He has already handed in his research paper and he received a grade of B for the assignment in gauging the reactions of bystanders, officials and others in authority.

Does he feel the punishment fits the offense?

“No, but this is going to be a piece of cake,” he answered. He has elected to face his detractors Army style - man up and keep his mouth shut, earn his sheepskin and go on from Jerusalem on the Brazos, home of the highest and mightiest private religious university in the U.S., and the longest in continuous operation in Texas with 151 courses of professional study, numerous professional schools and a fastidious reputation for Christian propriety.

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