It’s going to be an interesting orientation for Duke University freshmen.
As part of their orientation, incoming students will be expected to read a graphic novel about feminism and lesbianism, complete with drawings of female masturbation and oral sex.
The book, “Fun Home,” was chosen as a welcoming text by a committee of current students and staff, and will be discussed as part of student’s official orientation.
The graphic novel focuses on feminism, suicide, and lesbianism, with explicitly drawn pictures of masturbation, oral sex, and male genitalia. One drawing, featured by Campus Reform, shows two women engaged in oral sex with anti-Christian messages in the background.
Ibanca Anand, a student on the committee responsible for selecting the book, told Campus Reform that she was initially a little surprised by the text. She described her initial reaction to the graphic sex-oriented novel as “Oh geez, what am I reading?”
“It’s shocking,” she said. “But once you put it down you realize you learned something.”
Despite her initial discomfort, Anand said the reading will play an important role in students’ lives, adding that the discussions during orientation will make for “an interesting ice breaker” to college life.
“I realized how critical these discussions are for so many of us, and it’s important that we establish this school as a place that is open and unafraid to talk about things that affect people,” she said.
While the reading is described only as “recommended” by university officials, group discussions on the book will be mandatory for all incoming freshmen. According to Anand, including the book as part of freshman orientation will give students an “introduction to what Duke will be like for the next four years, exploring on your own.”
Many members of the committee say they understand the book might not be well received.
“Parents may have more issues with the book than incoming students, who for the most part have been exposed to these difficult issues as a part of their education,” said history professor Simon Partner, according to the Duke Chronicle.
Partner tried to justified the explicit novel by saying it represents some of Duke’s core values.
“Fervent activism and standing up for what we believe is right has become a crucial part of Duke’s identity, and ‘Fun Home’ fits right in with all of this,” he said.
The university’s committee might be confident about their reading selection, but parents and students might start to wonder what kind of culture their tuition dollars are fostering when they open up their welcoming text.