****This post was originally published in my Morgan State University blog, Mind Over Morgan.****
WARNING: This post contains images that some individuals may consider to be offensive.
The beginning of the academic year is a time of tremendous hope – a natural response to a campus suddenly filled with new students and the promise of marvelous things to come both in and out of class. But like many things in life, this rosy image is quickly tarnished by reality and our own human frailties.
College is and should be a time for experimentation and pushing familiar boundaries. For it is here that many students try on adulthood for the first time. New friends, new experiences, and new temptations are absolutely par for the course. And the veritable ground zero for this rite of passage is the campus party (or the off-campus bash which, of course, is even freer of the restrictions imposed by university or parental authority).
The images above are from a postcard that I found last week on the Welcome Bridge. The postcard promoted a party that was to occur last Friday night. To say that these images are suggestive is a laughable understatement. The clear implication – at least to young heterosexual males – is that attending this party might result in an encounter with a partner quite willing to indulge in some very adult behavior.
I am and have been called many things, but “prude” has never been among the terms used to describe me. Yet especially in the evolving aftermath of the Ray Rice scandal and the Federal investigation of sexual violence on college campuses, this portrayal of women is at least wildly inappropriate and tasteless, and at worst, an endorsement of the objectification and abuse of women.
I do not know if the organizers of “Caribbean Candy Crush” were cognizant of how their advertisement fit into the maelstrom of recent events. My guess is that they only wanted to tease us into parting with our money and consuming cheap alcohol. What could be the harm in that? Yeah. Right.
I hope that what they actually did was stir feelings of concern — and perhaps a fair amount of good old-fashioned disgust and anger. Violence against women does not occur in a vacuum. It is, however, nurtured by silence and complacency. The campus of Morgan State University cannot allow itself to become an incubator for misogyny. I call upon the entire Morgan Community to come together and develop policies and procedures that balance our commitment to the First Amendment right to free speech with our moral obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of women.
Let us show our daughters – and our sons – that freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.