Category Archives: College

Just a frat boy prank? Or more about rape culture?

So, many of you may have seen this heinous picture on social media and wondered if it was real?

This happened at Old Dominion University last week.

This happened at Old Dominion University last week.

No way would this be allowed at a college that says it prides itself on educating it’s student body and faculty about ending sexual aggression and inappropriate sexual behavior, as well as sexual harassment. A University that has “Safe Space” training on a regular basis to end harassment of LGBTQ people, and a large and quite diverse student population? Old Dominion Univerity has online training for faculty and administrators about sexual harassment and how to deal with it if a student confides in them, or they witness it, etc.

I am an Old Dominion University student!  I am a woman!  I am a mom of a son who is starting college this year!  I was absolutely amazed and disgusted that these young men thought those banners were an appropriate thing to hang from the railing of the upper deck of the house they live in.  I have walked past that house many, many times.  I never knew that a few cretins lived inside there.  They displayed the banners on freshmen move in day.  I wonder how many parents saw that and were concerned?  I wonder if any of them dis-enrolled their children from ODU because of the message those banners sent?

If I was a parent with my child and saw those banners I would have asked why that was allowed.  Now to be completely transparent, the banners wee NOT on school property.  They were hung from a house directly across the street from the campus library.  Apparently it is a house where a chapter of Sigma Nu members reside.  To their credit, the President of the National Sigma Nu organization issued this statement.

As soon as I saw it on social media I sent an email to the ODU President. My email stated:

Dear President Broderick, As an ODU student and a mother to a young man who just started TCC and wants to transfer to ODU I am absolutely appalled and disgusted with the picture I saw on Facebook today that was taken by a Norfolk Police Officer.

If I was a parent with a child attending preview week at ODU I would have unregistered my child (male or female) immediately!   I would not want to take a chance of my daughter being preyed upon, and I would not want to take a chance of my son becoming friends or sharing a classroom with other young men who feel that this behavior is somehow okay. 

We have had bad publicity in recent years at ODU with fraternities and sororities engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior, was well as sexually motivated attacks on young women.  Is this the type of atmosphere the Administration at ODU wants?

I am truly ashamed to say I am an ODU student, and hope these young men will be brought to heel and punished!  Maybe this fraternity should no longer be accepted at ODU.  Just my .02.

I look forward to seeing swift action being taken to punish these young men and correct the pervasive inappropriate attitudes shown here. 

Maybe ODU should take a page from VCU’s play book and require mandatory online training for all students about sexual violence prevention, bystander intervention and risk reduction.”
I sent the email at 4:47 pm on Saturday afternoon.  At 6:45 that evening I received a response back from President Broderick.  It was informal and sent from his iPad, which actually makes it very authentic in my opinion.  Just a guy responding with his thoughts and feelings:
“Actually we have been mandating for new students what you suggest for the last three years. I can assure you we are taking this seriously. This offends me on all levels as it does all faculty, staff and students!”
No salutation or closing.  Just a guy sending a response.  I appreciated that, and felt like it was his genuine thoughts and feelings!
Then a few hours later I received the “official” email sent by his Assistant, Velvet Grant. So I asked:
I would like to know as a student AND a parent of a prospective student what consequences these young men are facing for their insensitive, derogatory and sexually harassing behavior? 
I also emailed back President Broderick and said:
How can I help get this kind of online training available to our current and prospective Monarchs?
If you have been mandating this for three years what needs to be done to make it happen?
I will help.
At that point I received the “official” email from Ellen Neufeldt who is the Vice President for student enrollment and engagement services:

Ms. Wood,

President Broderick shared your e-mail with me that you are interested in reviewing some of the training we send to students.  I am copying Traci Daniels, Deputy Title IX coordinator, so she can get you information this week. 

We just finished an live education program delivered to all our first time freshman on Saturday and have on line education for other students as well as layered education programs throughout the year.  We can get you the list of communication and education sessions.  If you would like to discuss the education and formats, I would be happy to arrange a conversation with the lead organizers.

I appreciate you commitment, care, and concern. 

She got my name wrong, and I am not sure if she is being patronizing or not…..I don’t know her…..Maybe I have  stumbled upon a way to use my double major degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies for some employment??

But the bottom line is that it might be more important to have an open discussion about This incident.  Just a frat boy prank? Or more about rape culture?  The fact that these young men thought this was okay, just floors me.  I don’t get it, and the comments on the Wavy 10 Facebook page are extremely disheartening as some people are basically just saying this is “normal” “pervy” college student dude stuff.  Really???

Can’t we teach our boys better than this?  Can’t we expect more from young male college students?  Do we want our daughters, nieces, friends, sisters, etc exposed to this type of thinking and subsequent behaviors??

I say no, and I will do whatever I can to change this type of negative behavior at the school I love! Until those changes happen, women will not be able to feel completely safe here.

#womenslives

 

 

 

Let’s get an amazing Student to the Netroots Foundation Conference!!

Another of the amazing people I have met is Morgan Malone.  I wrote about the petition her organization started to reinstate a Black Cultural Center on Old Dominion University Campus.  Well, she is a human being that I have a lot of faith in , and I believe with all my heart we will be hearing about her in the years to come.  Possibly in the political arena?

She is attempting to get to a conference put on by Netroots Foundation.  In fact, this is a conference I myself would like to attend, but I am not sure I can get there.  Morgan is trying to get a scholarship to attend the conference, and it is a “voting” type of thing where the person with the most votes gets the scholarships.  Not sure I agree with their method, but at least they offer a scholarship for attendance, so I can live with it.

This is from their website:

Are you a staffer who wants to pump up your social media skills? Or maybe you’re a blogger who wants to learn how write more persuasively? Whether you’re a student organizer or the person running communications for your organization, the training sessions at Netroots Nation will teach you how be to more effective in using technology to influence the public debate or promote yourself, your cause or your organization.

Each year, we have 40+ hands-on training sessions covering the critical skills that every organizer needs to know, from growing your email list to measuring ROI to becoming a media star. Training tracks for 2015 will include both beginner and advanced online organizing, communications, tech and design and more. And these sessions are led by experienced professionals from dozens of the most well-known organizations and publications in the progressive movement.

Netroots Nation 2015 is July 16-19 in Phoenix, AZ. We’ll be announcing our lineup of 40+ training sessions early this spring. Be sure to sign up for our email list for updates on sessions.

– See more at: http://www.netrootsfoundation.org/programs/netroots-nation/?gclid=CjwKEAjwvPepBRCoqo37teOD1XsSJAC7v6WQo935kJKFVbpz0MVim1ZUcwZQy-bgEVdm8saA_hmUOBoCkDXw_wcB#sthash.vFig3Myh.dpuf

Netroots Foundation brings together online citizens across America, injects progressive voices into the national conversation and advances the values of justice, equality and community in our nation’s politics. With technology, the information revolution and online communities changing the very nature of civic engagement, we seek to accelerate the understanding and support of this fundamental shift in participatory democracy. – See more at: http://www.netrootsfoundation.org/programs/netroots-nation/?gclid=CjwKEAjwvPepBRCoqo37teOD1XsSJAC7v6WQo935kJKFVbpz0MVim1ZUcwZQy-bgEVdm8saA_hmUOBoCkDXw_wcB#sthash.vFig3Myh.dpuf

Netroots Foundation brings together online citizens across America, injects progressive voices into the national conversation and advances the values of justice, equality and community in our nation’s politics. With technology, the information revolution and online communities changing the very nature of civic engagement, we seek to accelerate the understanding and support of this fundamental shift in participatory democracy

Please vote for Morgan to attend this Conference.

Here is the link to read about why she wants to attend, and how to vote for her:

VOTE FOR MORGAN

morgan2

So please work with me and Let’s get an amazing Student to the Netroots Foundation Conference!!

#womenslives

A petition to reinstate the African American Cultural Center at Old Dominion University

So another student in my Women’s Studies classes who I also consider a friend has decided to take up a cause to reinstate the African American Cultural Center at Old Dominion University where we go to school.

Morgan is working with a group called Generation Forward, whose mission statement says : “Generation Forward is part of the nationwide movement to re-assert the value of Black lives, to create real, lasting change in the community.

Morgan

Morgan

So Generation Forward has begun a grassroots campaign to have a Black Student Union reinstated on Old Dominion University Campus.  There used to be a safe space for the African American students to meet on campus, but it was closed in 2008 due to expansion of residential housing.  There are other safe spaces available for other marginalized groups to meet, such as the Women’s Center, GLBT Housing, a space for Chinese students, Filipino students among others.  However, there is no space set aside for black students. Here is the executive summary:

Black Student Union at Old Dominion University Executive Summary

In 2008, the Hugo A. Owens African American Cultural Center was closed, due to residential area expansion, after serving the campus community for seventeen years. A haven to all who had the opportunity to experience it, the center was a prized jewel to the campus community. In its absence, the university has significantly decreased institutional funding toward Black programming and cultural awareness. There is no longer a central safe space for Black students to commune while accommodations for other marginalized groups have been made (i.e. the Women’s Center, the Safe Space Committee, Lavender House — a living arrangement for LGBT students, the Confucius Institute to promote understanding between US citizens and Chinese culture, and the Filipino American Center). Currently, the Black community makes up 46% of on campus students and 22% of the student body as a whole. With such a large amount, making our university the most diverse in the state, it is also time to make it the most inclusive in the state and reinstate the African American Cultural Center as a Black Student Union. Black students bring in an excess of $3,000,000 in student activities fees each year, but are invested in at a rate close to $6 per student, per year, in cultural programming from student organizations alone. From alumni and faculty who remember Owens House, to the students who’ve never gotten a chance to experience such a space, it is important that we make this opportunity available for prospective students in the future.

So what does a Black Student Union at Old Dominion look like? Ideally, this building will house one large event space, multiple meeting spaces, organizational offices for Black student organizations, and an administrative office for a director and two assistant directors devoted to academic success, institutional equity, community outreach, and cultural awareness and programming. While this space will function as safe space for Black students and anyone else interested in enhancing their cultural awareness, we also have a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between Old Dominion and the campus community. The Union’s interior is only a starting point, where historical images pertaining to Blacks in Hampton Roads will be showcased. From there, mentoring programs, college student to youth and professional to college student, will be established with the community at large.

The Union will serve as a space that promotes and maximizes academic excellence, community outreach, recruitment and retention of Black students, and supportive programming centered around Black culture and the African Diaspora. It will also provide a wide range of support and resources that include opportunities for leadership development, mentoring services, graduate school workshops, career services, informal counseling and advisement, networking opportunities, internships, and more. While all of these services are valuable, the most important goal of the Union is to foster critical concern for, and understanding of, Black and African Diasporic history, arts, politics, and culture.

The Union serves as a vehicle to promote cultural and racial understanding, build community, and foster appreciation for Black culture. It is imperative that this facility return to Old Dominion University so that we can all call ourselves members of not only the most diverse campus in Virginia, but also, the most inclusive.

I think the mission of her group has merit, and a Black Student Union on campus is needed.  Please take a moment to sign her petition. 

All cultures are valid, all cultures are important.  We need to ensure that we are not attending to some cultures needs and not others, particularly when the culture in question is almost 1/2 of the student body.  Please support Morgan, Generation Forward, and all of the black students at ODU, and sign the petition!

Thank you all!!!