By Katherine Coble || News Editor
The “Take Back Our Campus” protest was meant to be a silent sit-in outside of Old Main to demonstrate the importance of safety on F&M’s campus. It was meant to be a chance for F&M students to stand in solidarity with their peers and demand more from our campus leaders. It was meant to be an opportunity for growth, change, and progress.
It was none of these things.
I was frustrated when the calls of women to have a moment of silence were rejected by men who demanded we chant something instead. My frustration turned to disgust when the chant these men selected was “Hey hey DFM / Make our campus fun again.” I watched in silence as a gaggle of predominantly white men, some wearing their fraternity letters, began chanting while women looked on in annoyance and awkward silence.
Make our campus fun again? Is that what matters most? At a school under Title IX investigation for years, where a student was recently the victim of attempted rape in a stairwell, fun is what matters? Fun in the form of fraternity men hosting parties without restriction?
My disgust bubbled into anger as the chants shifted to “Pray for Colgate! Pray for Colgate!” referring to Dean Flores-Mills’ new employment opportunity in New York – as though a single administrator has anything to do with our campus culture. Chanting “Pray for Colgate” made a mockery of the event – and the women who showed up to support it. Don’t pray for Colgate. Do something to help your own female peers, who have repeatedly told you that they feel unsafe and that something must be done about it.
To rub salt into the wound, when women began chants about safety, many of the men fell silent. It became even more apparent that some of male students at the event viewed it as an opportunity to get their beloved fraternity parties back, not to improve student safety or protect F&M women. They weren’t there for safety! They were there for fun.
How out of touch can certain members of our campus community be? How offensive to every single woman on this campus who has been inappropriately touched, coerced, or abused? How dare you speak over us. How dare you make this about parties when our livelihood is at stake. These men owe every survivor on this campus an apology.
If the goal of the sit-in was to show student concern for female safety, it achieved the opposite. I now see quite clearly how little some men at F&M care about their female peers and their wellbeing. I understand that throwing a fun party apparently matters more to you than safety. I call on these people – and they know exactly who they are – to do better, work harder, and take responsibility for their contribution to F&M’s rape culture.
The women of this campus see where your priorities lie, and we will not forget.
Sophomore Katherine Coble is the News Editor. Her email is email@example.com.