A crudely battered female mannequin dangled from a Middlebury College frat balcony in early May of 1988. Doused in blood-tinted paint and flashing a sexually charged slur, the gross spectacle appeared during a toga party at Delta Upsilon, the jock fraternity — and there it remained the following day, an ugly blight on the Vermont college’s idyllic campus, until a dean intervened. Students gawked but mostly carried on. It was the school’s small group of feminists who alerted the news crews up north in Burlington.
When Cole Moore Odell arrived as a freshman in the Fall of 1989, the story still hung fresh in the air. “The mannequin-out-the-window incident was kind of famous on campus when we got there,” he said a quarter of a century later. “It could be argued that [by supporting the school’s fraternities] you are at least tacitly approving that in a way.”