Hawthorn Hotties’ Holiday Greetings Bring Welsh Criticism

By Azad Ebrahimi
SC Contributing Writer

Lately, it seems President Marcia Welsh hasn’t been able to catch a break.

During the fall semester and winter break, outrage spread across the ESU campus when President Welsh tweeted a photo of her amidst a group of halfclad men who call themselves “The Hawthorn Hotties.”

The group of male students performs erotic dances that mirror to the ones seen in the film “Magic Mike” in order to raise money for various charitable causes, including the American Cancer Society.

The group previously made an appearance in the university’s fall 2014 Drag Show.

While delivering cookies to the residence halls for the holiday season, President Welsh was asked by the group to take a photo.

This photo was then posted to her official Twitter account, and was met by backlash from several students.

Torry Paskiet, an ESU student, responded to the tweet, saying, “This is incredibly inappropriate for you to post… What if this were a male president and female students?”

However, I do not believe that President Welsh is in the wrong.

The particular tweet that sparked the controversy was posted chronologically in a line of other tweets following her day as she participated in events held around the campus.

John Alston, one of the students who co-created the Hawthorn Hotties, said, “We asked to get a picture with her. She didn’t have any prior knowledge of that. There’s no promiscuous or sexual reference at all within the picture. There’s really nothing to negatively take from that except for the fact that the guys have their shirts off.”

The photo itself shows no indication that she was trying to be inappropriate.

President Welsh defended the photo, saying, “The students who refer to themselves as the ‘Hawthorn Hotties’ were raising money for the American Cancer Society. To exploit the support of our students is not only an insult to them, but a malicious disservice to the good work they do for our university and the community.”

It’s easy to point fingers at someone in a position of power, and I believe that is exactly what happened to the president.

Being in a position of power can make it difficult to avoid scrutiny, and many will nit-pick for any blunder.

However, just as well, our society exposes us to sophomoric and adult humor at a very young age. The problem is not that we are exposed to sex and sexuality, but that we are taught to see it as inappropriate.

Though President Welsh was not being inappropriate, it is easy to distort the tweet and give it a negative subtext simply because of how members of our generation were raised.

Email Azad at:
aebrahim@live.esu.edu

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