Huskies & Rape Memes

Connecticut, we need to talk about our universities. Why are they so damn awful when it comes to women’s issues?

I’m not going to bother rehashing the shitshow at Wesleyan. Just go ahead and read all about it here (or just watch the SVU from a few weeks ago) and I”ll wait.

All caught up on The Rape Factory? Good.

Now we’ve got a new problem. UCONN is in hot water for its reaction to this Open Letter. Here’s the gist:

“Instead of giving these problematic aspects of male athletic peer culture at UConn a second look or a giving the real face of athletics a true makeover, it appears that the focus of your administration is prioritizing the remodeling of the fictional face of the Husky Logo. Instead of communicating a zero tolerance atmosphere for this kind of behavior, increasing or vocalizing support to violence against women prevention efforts on campus in the face of such events, or increasing support to student run programs that seek to work with athletes on issues of violence as well as academic issues, it would appear that your administration is more interested in fostering consumerism and corporatization than education and community. Another example of this shift in priorities can be seen in the current administrations selection of the new logo — a selection made with no involvement from or consultation with the normal, everyday, non-Olympian student body.”

Oh, and then there’s the fact that the new Husky logo looks a bit like a rape meme (I can’t even believe there is such a thing as a rape meme). Now, I think it’s probably silly to think anyone making decisions about the logo knew about the rape meme, but the real problem here is the reaction in the wake of the original letter.

Predictably, ignorant a-holes started harassing the letter writer — both on campus and in the national media. And the university administration– including Susan Herbst, UCONN’s first female president — has been all but silent.

The Asian Persuasion and I are both UCONN graduates. We both value the education we received, but the culture at UCONN was never really my thing. I didn’t drink in college, which meant I had almost nothing to do…And part of the reason I didn’t drink was because of the repeated warnings about how being a drunk idiot can end with date rape. There was the infamous “Rape Trail” and more boob-flashing than I knew what to do with on the average Spring Weekend. You might say its most vibrant culture was its rape culture.

But this is an especially sad day for UCONN. If ever there was a place where young people should feel free to express themselves and explore ideas, it’s on a college campus. And it’s even sadder when the university’s administration does nothing to facilitate the discussion, and make it clear that students should always feel free to voice their concerns about the direction their university is taking. In the end, it’s unlikely that the school will scrap the logo based on these concerns — but it would be nice if it at least pretended that it encourages its students to think critically, and make it clear that it’s never OK to threaten your fellow student with rape just because you don’t agree with them.

And I’ll be sure to let the poor bastard who calls me — in an effort to get me to donate money to the school — know exactly what I think.