May 16, 2005

Letter to the Editor

Indecent Exposure

Before I begin, I apologize if this letter seems a little outdated, given that coverage of Louis Perwien's arrest over public indecency took place well more than a week ago. That being said, I'm outraged at the prospect that Perwien may be registered as a sex offender and disappointed in the Maroon's coverage of the story.

Last week, in The Chicago Reader's "News of the Weird" section, it was mentioned that a graduate student at a reputable college was arrested for carrying a spray bottle filled with his bodily fluids and clandestinely spritzing female students and their meals. In my opinion, that sort of behavior earns one the classification of sex offender, since it is sociopathic, degrades those on the receiving end in the pursuit of the perpetrators' own sexual pleasure, and poses a risk—in this case health implications—to those targeted. Did Perwien pose any risk to the University community by idly standing nude? Is making someone avert their gaze or wince really enough to register someone as a sex offender? Furthermore, I find it amusing that at a time when the UCPD is being criticized for its incompetence in handling student muggings, eight officers would show up to the scene of the nudity. Talk about poorly allocating resources and manpower.

Now with regard to the Maroon's coverage on the Perwien arrest, was any effort made to interview those people that reported Perwien to the UCPD? If in fact "a lot of people" called the UCPD, then it should not have been difficult to track one of the complainers down and have them go on record to enlighten us on what was so offensive about Perwien's actions. Or maybe there weren't "a lot of calls" complaining about Perwien's public nudity and the UCPD is using it as a pretense to justify their arbitrary response. Still, it's the Maroon's journalistic duty to substantiate the claim that "a lot of people" called to complain. If witness reports go against UCPD's allegations of high volume complaints, then does it make any sense to register someone as a sex offender when no one was sexually affronted? Also, was any effort made to get in contact with Perwien? Questions that could have been asked of him: Was your intent to create an uncomfortable and tense sexual atmosphere? Would you have obligingly put on your clothes if someone had asked you to?

I don't know Perwien personally, but I believe that the punishment looming over his head is heavy-handed to such a gross degree that it betrays all concepts of fairness.

Kenneth Aliaga

Fourth-year in the College