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.





Andrea Smith and Rachel Dolezal….Is Identity Really Important?

I have been a college student for many years.  Yes, I am a late bloomer.  I didn’t start college until I was in my mid 40′s.  Before that I did a 20 year military career, and after I retired, I ended up getting divorced, and being a single mom.  During those times of my life college was not much of a priority  One day a client at the Dermatology practice where I work came in and told me about the Post 911 GI Bill.  I didn’t have any other GI bill because when I joined the military, it wasn’t available to us.  (anyone remember the VEAP Program??)

Anyway, as a college student I took a Women’s Studies class, and was immediately hooked!  I decided to add a second major: Women’s Studies.  And as a student of Women’s studies I have learned about intersectionality, cultural appropriation, misogyny, identity, etc, etc.  In learning about these things I have definitely been influenced by my professors and the writers I read: Linda Nicholson, The Combahee River Collective, Monique Wittig, Raewynn Connell, Audre Lorde, Judith Butler, Patricia Hill Collins, Michael Foucault, and Andrea Smith to name a few. These men and women have definitely shaped and influenced me, but I definitely make up my own mind about things and speak my own truth.

So when Rachel Dolezal was “outed” by her parents as not being a black woman, I had thoughts about that.  I was upset that this woman took on another identity and claimed it as her own.  I totally understand her empathizing with the struggles African Americans have in their everyday lives because of the social constructs we have in this country, and the racism that is embedded in our society. But for her to take on the identity of a black woman was going too far in my opinion.  According to the accounts I have read online and watched on TV, she identified as a white girl and was raised by white parents.

Rachel Dolezal

Rachel Dolezal

And as a white woman, after it was revealed she was portraying herself as a woman of color when she wasn’t, she could step back into her white woman’s skin and all of the privilege that entails without missing a beat.  If an African American woman was able to “pass” as a white woman, and it was revealed she was actually a woman of color, she would not be able to return to a race with privilege, but instead would have to return to a race that has less privilege, and is replete with racism, even within her own community.

For Rachel Dolezal, her critics contend that she has committed cultural appropriation and fraud; her supporters contend that her racial identity is genuine, although not based on biology or ancestry. She states that she is “biracial”, and that she is just trying to match how she feels “internally with how she looks externally”.

What bothered me even more than the Rachel Dolezal cultural appropriation was the articles that again started surfacing regarding the questions around Andrea Smith’s heritage.

I feel that the controversy surrounding Andrea Smith is different.  Andrea Smith has always maintained that she is Native American.  She was raised believing she is Native American.  She was not born to white parents and somehow along the way adopted a different racial identity than the one she was born with.  She is not enrolled in a tribe to my knowledge.  But enrollment does not prove ancestry.

I think that what bothers me the most about the attacks on Andrea Smith is that I have yet to find ANY articles or stories, or papers from the Cherokee Nation that refute Andrea’s claims of Native heritage.  And believe me I have searched.  Wat I have found is all of the articles by the man who was supposedly hired to “research” her heritage and found nothing.  Also by people she supposedly “admitted” he was not truly Native.  No one has yet to provide any real documentation such as a birth certificate, or college documents, etc that deny her heritage.

Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

With others, those documents were published quickly to “prove” they were not what they claimed to be.  If Andrea Smith really is not a Native why is there no “proof” that she isn’t??

So for me I have decided to stick by Andrea Smith, who is by the way an amazing scholar and activist who has helped to found groups such as: Women of All Red Nations, INCITE, and the Boarding School Healing Project.  She has written books, articles and lectured all over the country.  Here is her statement about the most recent controversy surrounding her race.

In the controversy of cultural appropriation I feel Rachel Dolezal is guilty and Andrea Smith is not.  At this point nothing will change my mind about that, no matter how many articles I am sent by people to try to change my mind!


Creamy Quinoa Chicken Broccoli Casserole

So, I have a secret to share….a bit of a confession to make…..

Ready for it???

I am the person who doesn’t let my food touch on my plate.  Whew, there I said it out loud.  **weight lifted off my shoulders**

Yes, I am THAT person.  I separate my food on my plate.  Nothing touches, AND I really don’t like mixing flavors, for example I don’t like sweet and sour, fruit with meat, sweet AND savory. I like my flavors to be separate.

However there is always an exception, right??  Well I do have an exception.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE casseroles!!  Chicken and dumplings, Minnesota hot dish, stews, chicken broccoli and rice, pot pie, shepherd’s pie, now those foods feed my soul y’all……not even joking!  But, they are less than healthy at times.  So I do my best to recreate these super yummy dishes in a more healthy version.

Today I am sharing one with you.  I absolutely adore the Cheesy chicken rice broccoli casserole, but white rice, cream of chicken soup, and lots of cheese is not so friendly to my waistline! So instead I found and tweaked a recipe to make it healthier.  I now want to introduce you to:

Picture used from myutensilcrock.com

Picture used from myutensilcrock.com

Creamy Quinoa Chicken Broccoli Casserole

2 cups natural chicken broth (I use organic chicken base, and mix with water)
1 cup almond milk (Can use fat free milk instead if no lactose issues)
1 tsp of poultry seasoning
½ cup almond flour (If you don’t have gluten issues, you can use white whole wheat)
2 cups of water, divided
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 pound of boneless chicken breasts
3 cups of fresh broccoli florets
Sea salt and pepper to taste

(optional: 1/2 cup shredded organic cheese)

1) Sauce: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish. Bring the chicken broth and 1/2 cup of almond milk to a low boil in a saucepan. Whisk the other 1/2 cup almond milk with the poultry seasoning and flour; add the mixture to the boiling liquid and whisk until a smooth creamy sauce forms. Do not add to quickly because it can get quite lumpy.

2) Assembly: In a large bowl, mix the sauce from step one, one cup water, and quinoa, and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Dice the chicken and mix it into the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with more poultry seasoning if you like. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

3) Broccoli: While the casserole is in the oven, place the broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute until it turns bright green and then run under the cold water to blanch it. Set aside.

4) Bake: Remove the casserole from the oven, check the mixture by stirring it around in the pan, and if needed, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes to get the right consistency. When the quinoa and chicken are cooked and the sauce is thickened, add the broccoli, shredded cheese, and a little bit of water (up to one cup) until the consistency is creamy and smooth and you can stir up easily in the pan. The amount of water will depend on how thick you want the sauce to be.  I don’t always need to add any more water.

This was truly a delightfully yummy dish.  You could change it up to make it vegan by removing chicken and chicken broth, and adding in more veggies, or tofu in place of chicken.

Chicken broth base I used:  (I bought it at Harris Teeter)