The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Let’s Talk About Sex

Sex — it’s a completely normal thing; for animals, for people, for everyone. Not only is it the thing that creates life, but it is fun, and a way for lovers to connect on a very intimate level. Sex is great, and so is the flirting that comes beforehand. But only when it is consensual from all parties.

Sexual harassment is a very widespread problem that affects high schools and colleges all over the world. As the first of many undergraduate males enter their years here at Chatham, sexual harassment has become a hot topic among students on campus. During orientation catcalling was a largely talked about issue. It was reported that some of the new first-years would lean out the windows of Rea House and shout down sexual comments to women as they passed. This issue was addressed almost immediately at the Class of 2019’s meeting where both sexual harassments such as this towards women and men were declared something that would not be tolerated.

Skip ahead to September 22, and a student, Ashley Nicholson, wrote a very controversial article, “Being a Man at Chatham Doesn’t Make You Special,” for the online magazine The Odyssey concerning the addition of men to Chatham. In this article, Nicholson specifically references the catcalling, a man in his thirties who “felt discriminated against,” and how the media has encouraged the “egos” of the new students at Chatham. Addressing the men on campus, Nicholson said in her article, “You bringing a change to Chatham does not stop at just existing as a student on campus…”

Many students, new and old, as well as alumni commented on the article.

“You know it took a lot of guts to decide to enroll at Chatham for this very reason,” Jeremiah Smith said.

“I’m so angry and sad at what my wonderful alma-mater has become,” said Susan Taska O’Dee, class of ’87.

“I honestly agree that articles like this do make men feel discriminated. Chatham students believe in equality, we believe that everyone should be equal. Giving men a hard time because they are men on our campus is not equality, but sexism,” said senior Christina Fortunato.

It has been a few months since the original incidents, and a month since the article began circulating its way through students’ news feeds and emails. For the most part, things seem to have calmed down.

“Sexual harassment has happened. I don’t know the statistics as far as before this year compared to what’s currently happened,” said Kimberlee Small, Residence Life Coordinator. “The fact that we have men here means more people are reporting it. I don’t like to say that people are overreacting but there is a heightened sense of tension.”

Dean of Students Zauyah Waite disagrees that sexual harassment is an issue at Chatham.

I have not witnessed or heard about any kinds of sexual harassment that has taken place on campus grounds,” Waite said. “However, Public Safety and Student Affairs departments, particularly Counseling Services, Residence Life and Office of the Dean of Students do respond and work with students who have previous experiences and are sexual assault victims.”

“I think they’re overreacting to the guys in general and creating problems that don’t exist,” said Emily Simons, a female first-year.

“I think that [sexual harassment] has potential for being an issue, but I haven’t seen any so far,” said Derrick Robinson, a male first-year. “I feel that others know enough about it not to sexually harass people. I think a lot of the males here are not jerks, for lack of a better word. I do think students are taking it a little too harsh. Especially the article.

“I don’t think sexual harassment is as big of a problem as I thought it was going to be,” said sophomore Maya Carey. “Also, it’s not always men who sexually assault women. I think that sexual violence is an issue that needs to be continuously talked about on college campuses. Chatham has definitely over-[gendered] the issues, but at the same time it is imperative to note that the majority of sexual harassment, physical or verbal, happens towards women.”

Carey is also a representative of the Feminist Majority Foundation at Chatham.

Chatham is a place of education, equality, and education about equality.

Chatham has consistently taken steps to ensure that we are well-informed community members,” said Waite. “From our partnership with Ever-Fi,which provides access to the educational models; Haven; and AlcoholEdu to students, faculty, and staff training on sexual assault and harassment, Chatham believes in giving its community the tools needed to successfully engage with and advocate for themselves and their fellow community members.”

Allowing men into Chatham was both a preventative action and a progressive one. By providing men with the same Chatham experience, the university is taking a few steps into educating men, as well as women, about the concepts of equality, and feminism.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All Communiqué Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *