CYBERSPACE—A careful reading of every news report about the S&M dungeon kept by David Lee, the 64-year-old chancellor of the for-profit University of Northern Virginia, fails to find one mention of how The Smoking Gun came to be aware of the BDSM website on which Lee and his girlfriend kept a profile, complete with “incriminating” photos.
The thought therefore occurs: Was TSG tipped off to Lee’s extracurricular activities by the feds following a raid on the university last Thursday, during which they hauled off computers and documents? Immigration agents and other federal officers executed a search and seizure warrant in the apparent belief that the college was allowing foreign students, who make up the majority of the student body, to apply for student visas but not attend class.
“As always, students are expected to attend classes, and international students who fail to attend are jeopardizing their stay in the U.S.,” stated Lee in a letter posted to the university website the day after the raid. “Faculty members will be present to conduct their classes as scheduled and will do so normally, despite the seizure of some teaching materials.
“There are many details of the investigation that are still unclear, but UNVA will continue to provide information as it becomes available,” the letter continued. “The University has a history of compliance with both federal and state authorities since it opened its doors in 1998. We plan to continue our history of compliance and we are in full cooperation with all authorities involved.”
Then came the revelation that Lee enjoys an active alternative sex life with his girlfriend and others in the BDSM community. The poorly shot photos included the couple in BDSM action, though not having sex. For the Mail Online, however, it was a disclosure of excess, a repugnant revelation.
“A chancellor of a university raided last week by federal immigration agents has been revealed as a man so into domination and sadomasochism that he and his girlfriend turned their basement into a suburban sex dungeon,” read the lede.
Gawker reveled in the news as well, amused in a cynical sort of way that people would be more interested in Lee’s secret obsessions than with the possible fraudulent foreign student angle, writing, “Sure, it has absolutely nothing to do with Lee's job, legal woes, or alleged immigration profiteering, but c'mon, 64-year-old suburban sex dungeon master. Take it away, The Smoking Gun.”
And of course there was The Smoking Gun itself, which neglected to state how it came to be aware of the chancellor’s profile on CollarMe.com, which claims to be the largest BDSM community on the planet. It beggars belief, though, to think that of all the sites and all the gin halls in the world, The Smoking Gun pulled CollarMe.com out of their hat at random.
Still, if Lee’s outers thought their actions would result in his public censure, but for the headlines—"University chancellor, 64, exposed as sadomasochistic, suburban sex-dungeon master"—thus far they were wrong. The majority of people commenting on the story seem to be of the opinion that the chancellor’s private life is no one’s goddamn business. It remains to be seen whether the college’s students, parents and faculty are as forgiving. Lee scheduled a meeting with them for Monday morning to discuss UNVA’s “status and future plans.”