Wed | Sep 26, 2018

KC old boys appeal for calm

Published:Friday | November 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The leadership of the Kingston College (KC) Old Boys' Association has moved to quell the backlash being directed at Professor Carolyn Cooper for an article she wrote about its decision to again bar women from attending the annual reunion dinner for past students.

The opinion piece was published in this week's Sunday Gleaner, under the headline 'KC old boys desire male sex', and almost immediately, furious KC past students took to Twitter and Facebook to express their outrage at what they claim was an attempt by Cooper to cast aspersions about their sexuality.

However, the association's president, Dr Patrick Dallas, has since dispatched a letter to members appealing for calm.

"Many of you have expressed your feelings in very strong language, and it is said that threats have also been issued against the writer [Cooper]. May I ask that in the midst of our upset and outrage at the column, we refrain from acting out or speaking out in ways that may reduce the stature of the Fortis man," read a section of the letter.

In the letter, Dallas also noted that this is the time for members of the association to "rally around Kingston College, especially our current boys who may be negatively affected".

Cooper, who teaches English language and literature at the University of the West Indies, Mona, confirmed yesterday that some of the comments directed at her have been vile and threatening, and seemed surprised by the reaction to what she said was meant to be satire.

"I think it's outrageous that people can't appreciate satire Ö to make fun of the fact that the KC boys only want the male sex at their dinner. It was intended to be a double meaning," she sought to explain.

"But they can't see that, they think that it's sex with men," she continued.

Dallas, in his letter, described the article as "an attempt at satire that fell flat".

"What is perhaps beyond debate, however, is that it takes little account of the nature of our Jamaican space and the noble nature of the Kingston College tradition. That is the real tragedy here," the letter noted.

In 2012 and 2013, the KC Old Boys Association removed its ban on women attending the annual alumni dinner, but reinstated it this year.