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Boston College in flap over lingerie
Critics: Biz deal with Victoria's Secret 'disgraceful'

By Christine McConville | Thursday, November 13, 2008

Photo by Stuart Cahill

Boston College's merchandising deal with racy lingerie peddler Victoria's Secret is raising ire on campus and among the conservative, Catholic school's alumni.
"It's disgraceful and appalling," said Boston College graduate C.J. Doyle, who runs the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts. "This is just one more example of the university's callous contempt for Catholic sensibilities and its complete indifference to what remains of its Catholic identity."
Yesterday on Newbury Street, outside a Victoria's Secret store that is selling hot-pink Boston College tank tops for $19.50 and Eagles "short shorts," others agreed.
"It's just not appropriate," said Maura Orrell of Quincy, as she surveyed the rhinestone- and glitter-covered Boston College sweatshirts, hanging just past the candy-colored Miracle bras.
"It's really tacky," added Marcia, a "50-ish" auditor from Boston.
Since July, Victoria's Secret stores have been selling university-themed clothing from 33 schools with strong name recognition. The Collegiate Licensing Co. is a partner and has arranged for some of the revenue to get passed on to the schools.
The universities of Minnesota and North Carolina have already pulled out of the deal, in part because they did not want their brand associated with the retailer.
"There is no way that we want that (BC) logo to be interpreted as 'We OK the sexualization of women,' " said Sharlene Hesse-Biber, director of the Women's Studies Center at Boston College, about the products.
At the Newbury Street Victoria's Secret store, the BC display is located just past life-sized photographs of nearly naked women in lacy lingerie, and next to racks of colorful, glittery underwear.
BC spokesman Jack Dunn said the school was "very selective" when it agreed to let Victoria's Secret sell BC sweatshirts, sweatpants, T-shirts and flip-flops as part of the racy chain's youth-oriented Pink line.
"We thought it was a tasteful line of clothing that college students wear," he said.
He said the college had no knowledge of Eagles-emblazoned "short shorts" that were selling next to the hot-pink BC tank tops.
"We never authorized undergarments," he said, though other colleges have their names printed on panties in the Pink collection.
He also said the university does not divulge how much it makes from selling licensed apparel.
Kenneth Wynne, an art dealer from Cape Cod, said he didn't understand all the fuss.
"If it's getting (the school) money, what's the big deal?" he said.
And Michelle Tammaro, a Boston University student from Raynham, said she'd buy the clothes if they had her school's name on them.
"I think it's pretty," she said.

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How about BC pasties?
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