You don’t need to be a college dive bar veteran to know that “overly friendly” is how your friends refer to the guy who sits a little too close and shakes their hands just a little too long. It’s the kind of signal for “he gives me the creeps, so don’t wander too far away” that we all learned in middle school, at the very latest. It’s code, guys, and not at all complicated. Which is why the excuse that Foley’s emails were just “overly friendly” and therefore didn’t raise any eyebrows is so absurd.
The other reason is the context in which it’s being used. Any involvement with kids means hyper-vigilance. The YMCA knew it way back when I taught Teen Camp, and this was before Myspace and AIM sexed the kids all up. Universities certainly know it: It’s why we don’t close the door when our students are in the office and why, when we TAs get even a hint that something’s hinky with a student, we scurry to our advisors to stay far, far ahead of it.
In that kind of environment, and the page program where kids live in a dorm and have a curfew, is unmistakably that kind of environment, not acting on something because it is simply overly friendly is idiotic malfeasance.
PS: Oh, and the “the Speaker was too busy to do something, what with doing the Peoples’ Business” excuse, which I’ve heard bandied around today, doesn’t help the case any. It does change the tone slightly, from “We’re craven political goons” to “We’re craven political goons who are also inept.” But that’s not a net plus.