This week, dozens of activists lined Ho Plaza bearing posters, megaphones, and homemade T-shirts. The subject of their protest: The iconic, and remarkably phallic, McGraw Tower. Protesters handed out quarter cards urging students to pressure administrators to create a “penis-free campus environment,” and to keep “173 foot mega-boners” out of higher education. “It’s disgusting and embarrassing,” said sophomore and organizer Shelly Sanders. “The tower is pictured on letters to alumni and information packets for admitted students — That’s like showing your dick at a job interview!” (A move that this reporter can confirm is mostly unsuccessful).
This is not the first time the University has come under fire for the lewd, misogynistic, and heteronormative nature of its buildings. Just last month, dozens of concerned Cornellians petitioned the board in a push to rename the 88-year-old Willard Straight Hall a more inclusive: Willard “I don’t like labels” Hall. The board, however, refused to hear the issue in a move students are calling “totally gay.”
Despite firm pressure from students, campus authorities have not been receptive of their requests to remove the tower. In a statement released yesterday, the University called the movement an “embarrassment” and its leadership “flaccid.” Students, it seems, are less decided. Al Bishop, a freshman, agreed with the protesters, admitting “whenever I walk to class I feel totally inadequate.”