April 26, 2004

The looming Bucky. What’s this they’re setting up on Bascom Mall?

A giant-headed mascot badgers me to have my picture taken with him. That’s me in the corner:

There’s free breakfast and assorted cavorting on the Mall. Further down the hill is what first amendment law calls a “designated public forum.” Here you’ll find various unattended public displays expressing some point of view, often informing us of shocking statistics by covering the hill with various items representing the subject of the statistics. (Earlier examples: here and here.) Today there are 2000 little pink flags, and you can see them here, loomed over by the giant figure of Bucky Badger:

According to the signs, each flag represents one of the “2000 undergrad women who will be raped before she graduates.” Is that 2000 within any given 4 year period? Over the entire history of the University? I can’t tell. I’m guessing that the assertion is that 500 students are raped each year. According to another sign, only 1 in 10 (or was it 1 in 20) "of these crimes" are reported. Presumably, some surveying produced that statistic. Still, if this shockingly brutal environment is really what exists here in Madison, where are the criminal trials? Does this book describe what life is like for college women? Where is the complete unraveling of the social fabric that those flaglets purport to document?