I am very proud to be an alumna of a university whose student community places a very strong emphasis on inclusion, tolerance and women’s rights. A campus where gender studies is a prevalent area of study and domestic violence awareness month is marked visibly on campus every year, and red flags, denoting widespread participation in the red flag campaign, which raises awareness about dating violence on college campuses, dot every lawn. When asked about the organization with the most visibility on campus I would proudly tell people that it is Prism, the LGBT alliance group that threw the most well attended events every year and actively worked to promote inclusion and acceptance.
While sexual assault seems to be a tragic inevitability in this world, I believe that it is no small coincidence that a university like UMW, one where Greek life has been banned since it’s inception, has much lower instances of sexual assault than schools where fraternities have too much power (wealthy alumni) and influence (professional lobbying groups) to be held accountable for their deplorable behavior.
When it comes to Greek life, I firmly believe that the heavily investigated and reported costs far outweigh the supposed benefits. I shudder to think that my beloved alma mater might soon welcome these hedonistic groups on campus for the first time.
Recent reports across all forms of media, including the scathing indictment of how the administration at UVa. has handled its issues with sexual assault make it all too apparent that something has got to change. A line from the recent Rolling Stone article that caught my eye:
Rugby Road- beloved UVA drinking song:
“All you girls from Mary Washington and R.M.W.C,
Never let a Virginia man an inch above your knee,
He’ll take you to his fraternity house and fill you full of beer,
And soon you’ll be the mother of a bastard Cavalier!”
This is rape culture, and not only is it tolerated, but it is sung out loud under the guise of school spirit and tradition.
I think I stand with a majority of alumni when I say, no means no. In all senses of the phrase. We don’t want you. Take your rape culture elsewhere, preferably to federal court.
Bullet Editor 2009-2011
University Of Mary Washington Alumni Class of 2012