It was a beautiful spring day on the planet of Euphemista. On the campus of PeacenContentment University, otherwise known as PCU, the sun looked down benignly from a clear blue sky, trees and plants were blooming, birds chirped happily, lithesome coeds in shorts strolled to their classes and a protest rally was being held in front of the Administration Building. On the steps of the building, a beautiful young woman was speaking into a bullhorn. “Who is she?” asked John Goodman, a pre-med student.
“Don’t you know?” said his friend Al Warner. “That’s Gloria Frieden. She’s the leader of the Feminist Council.”
“What are they protesting about?”
“They want more feminist classes.”
“I thought we had enough of those.”
“There’s never enough for them. They want to revamp the Earth Studies program. They want a class on Anne Hathaway instead of Shakespeare; a class on Martha instead of George Washington; a class on Michelle instead of Barack Obama.”
“That seems reasonable to me,” said John. “She’s beautiful. I’m going to meet her.”
“Don’t be crazy,” said Al. “Women like her are poison. They hate men. If you so much as look at her, she’s liable to accuse you of rape, or at least of violating her safe zone. Bull Johnson, the captain of the football team, tried to ask her out and she threatened to bring him up on charges.”
“You’re exaggerating. Anyway, I don’t care. I’m going to meet her.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
The planet Euphemista had long ago outpaced the Earth in incorporating political correctness (PC) in all aspects of society. Diversity was the watchword so that in workplaces women, gays, bi’s and trans were given preference through an extension of the temporary but centuries-old “affirmative action” laws. This was even though women and gays had long ago outpaced men in employment, executive positions and salary. It was said that some men even declared themselves gay in order to take advantage of their special status. In colleges of course students had long since taken over the setting of courses and the rules of conduct on campus. Women still claimed they were victims of sexual predators but the fact was, as Al had told John, that it was a brave male student who’d make advances to a coed for fear of being accused of sexual misconduct and summarily expelled. It should be mentioned that there existed a small group of so-called Dissidents who wouldn’t accept PC precepts and campaigned against them. They were considered radicals.
It was a week later. John Goodman had patiently waited on line to see Gloria Frieden, who was seated behind a table piled high with pamphlets, signing up students for a march on the state capital, John wasn’t sure for what, but this would give him a chance to approach the woman he’d been dreaming about and thinking about when awake. Seen up close, Gloria was even more beautiful than he’d imagined. She had raven-black hair, startling blue eyes and a firm mouth and chin. “Sign there,” said Gloria.
“I’d be happy to,” said John. “Uh, would you have a cup of coffee with me after you’re done?”
Gloria looked up, surprised. Few male students had ever dared to ask her to have coffee with them. She saw a handsome young man with blonde hair and an artless look. She’d make quick work of him. “I’m far too busy to have cups of coffee with anybody,” she said. At that moment, a group of burly students approached the table, members of the football team, led by their captain, Bull Johnson. “What do you want, Bull?” said Gloria. “Didn’t I tell you to stay away from me.”
“Yeah, here’s what I think of you crazy bitches,” said Bull. He swung his arm and scattered the pamphlets all over, then he and his teammates overturned the table. Gloria sprang back. John said, “Hey, you can’t do that.”
“Stay out of this,” snarled Bull.
John tried to push Bull away; the next thing he knew he was being swarmed over; he felt a punch to his jaw, saw stars and then everything went black. When he opened his eyes, Gloria Frieden was bent over him. “Are you all right?” she asked.
“I think I’m in heaven and I see a beautiful angel.”
In spite of herself, Gloria blushed. “Can you get up?”
“Yes, now will you have that cup of coffee with me? I laid down my life to defend you, well, almost.”
John and Gloria were in the campus coffee shop. John had told Gloria all about himself, how he was from a small town, his father was a preacher and his mother was a teacher, he’d won a scholarship to PCU and aspired to be a doctor so that he could help people. Gloria knew that all men were sexual predators who wanted only one thing, but could this naïve young man be an exception? She found herself in her turn telling about her background and her ambitions. She was from a megacity, her father was a community organizer and her mother was an activist lawyer. What was her goal in life? She wanted nothing less than to become president. John listened, entranced. He’d never met anyone like this girl, woman, he should say. He had no doubt that she’d succeed in achieving her goal. Where this left him, he didn’t stop to think. All he knew was that he was in love with her.
Two weeks later, John and Gloria made love in her dormitory room. How this came about, Gloria didn’t know. She only knew that John aroused strange feelings in her, feelings that she couldn’t resist. John felt that life for him couldn’t get any better. The next week he was brought up on charges of sexual assault.
What had happened? Gloria’s roommate had returned and found Gloria lying on her bed, seemingly in a daze. She asked Gloria if she was all right. Gloria said that John Goodman had been there. The roommate asked if John had assaulted her. Gloria said she didn’t know. The roommate said that all men were sexual predators so he probably did. Gloria had to see to it that he was punished. She owed it to the Feminist Council.
The next week John received the notice from the PCU Judiciary Board. He’d been accused of sexual assault. He was stunned. “What did I tell you?” said Al Warner. “I warned you.”
“There must be some mistake,” said John. “Gloria would never say that.”
The PCU Judiciary Board was in session. Maxine Rivers, Dean of the all-powerful Gender Studies Department, presided. John Goodman was allowed to be present but, according to the rules, could not testify. In all the history of such proceedings, the male student was always presumed to be guilty and had always been expelled. Gloria had testified as to John’s actions. At the end of her testimony, she said that the Board should be merciful toward him as he’d been blinded by passion. He’d even said he loved her.
John stood up. Before anyone could stop him, he said, “I know I can’t testify but I’d like to say that Gloria Frieden is the finest person I’ve ever known and if she thinks I sexually assaulted her then that must be true. I’m ready to take my punishment. Gloria, I told you I loved you and I do.”
“Oh, John,” said Gloria. “He didn’t assault me. I think I love you, too.” She and John hugged each other and kissed.
“This is very irregular,” said Maxine Rivers. “Are you withdrawing your charge?”
“Yes. John is innocent.”
“This will lead to a bad precedent. The Judiciary Board will have to take this up in closed session.”
John and Gloria didn’t care about this. They came together and kissed. At PCU, despite everything, love had triumphed, for the moment.
In the end, the Board found John guilty on the general grounds that he was a male, and a white male at that. John was expelled from PCU. Gloria also had to leave the college as her defense of John had made her a pariah to all women students. They joined the Dissidents. John took courses under an assumed name and became a nurse. He spent his days, as he’d hoped, helping people. Gloria eventually became the leader of the Dissidents. Life at PCU went on as before. Bull Johnson was expelled, as was inevitable. Al Warner declared he was gay so that he could get a fellowship. The rules were changed so that once a coed had brought a charge against a male student it couldn’t be retracted.