Old Dominion University and college pranks
Old Dominion University and college pranks
This month and next month, many families are dropping off college freshmen. There are college sponsored orientation activities, rush events for those inclined towards fraternity and sorority life, dorm games and of course standing in line for hours to buy books. Part of this process is tasteless and silly behavior by college students, including fraternity brothers. At Old Dominion University, a fraternity put up banners welcoming freshmen girls and their moms.
The banners — reading “Rowdy And Fun! Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time,” “Freshman daughter drop off” and “Go ahead and drop off mom too” — which have since been removed, have shaken students and administrators alike. The sexually suggestive posters appeared to target incoming female freshmen at the Norfolk, Va., university.
That would have resulted in a “don’t drink the punch at a fraternity party” lecture from my dad. Who was a rather protective old school dad that trusted his daughter to have a brain and make good choices. This expectation is perhaps too much like common sense for most college students and administrators it seems.
Are the banners tasteless? Yeah but these are 18-21 year old boys. And the fraternity suspended its chapter to find out what the members were thinking.
Old Dominion President John Broderick also posted a message to faculty, staff, students and alumni on the Facebook page expressing his “outrage.” Broderick said that the university constantly tries to educate its students about sexual assault and sexual harassment, and included a link to student leaders responding to the posters:
A sign is not assault: it is a bunch of horny teenaged males acting foolishly. If one is raised well, then all these banners are is a teachable moment. President Broderick is puffing himself up with feigned outrage.
The Atlantic stated these signs were crass but not evidence of some so-called “rape culture.” For that, see Daesh. Also known as ISIS.
For some observers, they aren’t just vulgar, rude, suggestive, bawdy, ribald, derogatory, or uncouth––they’re an example of “rape culture.” As Old Dominion’s President John Broderick put it, “While we constantly educate students, faculty and staff about sexual assault and sexual harassment, this incident confirms our collective efforts are still failing to register with some.” Nearly every press outlet that has covered the controversy connected it to ongoing efforts to reduce the number of rapes that occur on campus.
One Old Dominion student told Jezebel, “I feel very strongly about how the attitude towards sexual assault on campuses is met with a slap on the wrist … As a woman, it’s frustrating to see the media bring awareness to the issue and then witness something related in your own community/school and see that nothing is changing.”
Two unrelated events cupcake. I know you want to cry rape every time your feelings are hurt but this crap diminishes the real crimes and real issues in favor of street theater and stupidity. And it really hurts the survivors of sexual assault as well as every other woman and man on campus. Common sense truly is not so common.
To other observers, those reactions make little sense.
As they see it, a college’s sexual-assault problem is best gauged by the number of sexual assaults. They regard the banners as an obvious joke. And they insist that the humor is rooted in confronting parents, who like to guard the virginity of their daughters, with the trope that they go off to college and have sex with frat guys. In this telling, nothing about the trope implies a non-consensual encounter. And regardless of the joke’s meaning, they believe it irrational to operate as if a sophomoric prank that seems like something a couple 19-year-olds cooked up in a few hours reveals their attitudes toward rape; the likelihood that they would rape someone; campus attitudes toward rape; or the success of campus anti-rape efforts.
It sure does seem that the colleges do not want to address the actual issues but the administrations want to throw slogans around and look like they are Doing Something. Which frankly does nothing for the actual victims of rape.
Controversies like this are a distraction; they distract from what’s really required to make college campuses safer for women; and they alienate a portion of the public that tires of exaggerated outrage.
In other words, stop playing games and address the issue of safety on campus realistically and rationally. That would make this survivor a lot happier than faux outrage at a non-event.