Category Archives: just life

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.





Silent Sunday


the fray concert







How does it feel when your oldest child graduates from high school?

I have friends who have kids older than mine, heck even Karol’s kids are older than mine.  Her kids graduated in 2011 and 2013.  I didn’t attend Katarina’s graduation, but I went to Brandon’s.  I cried.  I cheered, I got emotional.  I was so happy for him, but in my experience there is a slight difference between the love for bio kids and step kids (at lest in my experience),

So, when it came close for Zachary to graduate, I started thinking about it and getting emotional at least a week prior to the event even happening.  I was at a makeover event on the 29th of May, and was just not in a good place during the day.  I couldn’t pinpoint what was bothering me, and all of a sudden it dawned on me that it was because of Zachary’s impending graduation.

The tearing up and emotion would come and go, but I was just overwhelmed by it at times.  It is hard to explain exactly what the feelings were about.  I was sad that he was all grown up and about to embark on that part of his life that would move him towards his own life and farther away from me.  But at the same time, I was happy that he was graduating, and had made it through high school with little or no trouble.

Don’t get me wrong, this kid was NO angel.  We fought about his schoolwork and grades ALL the time.  We fought about him making Eagle Scout (he told us two months before completion he really didn’t want to do it).  We were like, “WTF? Hell no kid, you ARE going to finish it.” Either that, or pay us back for EVERY summer camp we had ever paid for….

But we missed BIG problems. No drinking, no sex, no drugs, no truancy. No driving his parents car into a fence by the football field when he was 14 and took the car to school while they were on a trip…….oh wait, that was me….

Yes, I was a bad kid, so I was always expecting Zachary to do the same dumb shit I did.  But he never did.  Thank the Universe!!!  So I was totally happy about that!

But there are definitely feelings of joy, pride, and for sure sadness in the emotional mix of graduation.  Zachary is my oldest.  I wonder if it will be even harder for me when the younger one graduates in  years?  The baby of all 4 kids…..

Well, we got through it, and I only needed to use 4 of the 50 tissues I packed in my purse.  (I decided to go bu a new dress that morning, so I didn’t have time to stop and buy tissue packs, so I just shoved a wad of tissues in my purse).  I had to give two tissues to Karol. Zack’s dad was stoic, and didn’t need any, although I saw a tear in his eye at least once.  To be honest, I was maintaining pretty well, only a few tears here and there.  But when the principal got up to speak, he choked up, and that made me lose it.  My carefully applied makeup ended up being streaked all over the place.  Good thing I didn’t wear my contacts.  I had a feeling it might be a bad idea.

So how does it feel when your oldest child graduates from high school? Bittersweet, to be honest. Bitter that they are moving closer to complete independence, and sweet that they are moving closer to complete independence.  (I never said it made sense).

In the fall, Zachary will be attending the local Community College, and working. And moving closer and closer to that independent life away from us.  I have come to terms with that, and am okay with it!

In grad attire after graduation.  He lost his tassel somewhere....sigh....

In grad attire after graduation. He lost his tassel somewhere….sigh….

Crossing the stage to get his diploma

Crossing the stage to get his diploma

Getting that bad boy in his hands!

Getting that bad boy in his hands!