The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

LETTER: Feminists United issues response to President Hurley

4 min read

Emily Hollingsworth/ The Blue & Gray Press

*The following is a letter emailed to University of Mary Washington president Rick Hurley by Feminists United on Campus in response to Hurley’s letter sent Monday afternoon.*

Dear President Hurley:
We are writing in response to the letter you sent to Eleanor Smeal, President of Feminist Majority Foundation, on June 8, 2015, which you then distributed to the media and to the entire campus and student body. Your letter contains a number of misstatements that cast Feminists United in a false and negative light and which we urge you to retract. Contrary to your assertion, Feminists United and its members have never made any allegations that Grace’s death was caused by the threats we received or she received directly. We have publicly stated that we do not know whether a connection exists between these threats and Grace’s death. Law enforcement is apparently investigating this matter, which is as it should be. We have urged individuals not to speculate about whether such a connection exists and await further information about this from law enforcement.

In your effort to defend the University’s inaction in the face of threats we reported to you and to other members of the administration, you have made statements that are both galling and untrue. We are greatly offended by your statement that: “Had Grace felt scared or threatened in her last semester on campus, she never mentioned as much to either of these individuals.” We know from our discussions with Grace and with faculty members that Grace did in fact repeatedly express fear for her safety. Grace told us at our weekly e-board meetings on multiple occasions that she was afraid, nervous, and worried for her well-being. She took precautions not to walk around the campus alone because of her concern for her physical safety. Grace may not have filed a formal complaint, but she was fully supportive of the decision of Feminists United to file a Title IX complaint, and was thinking about being a complainant herself.

Grace, Paige, and Kelli were all named and personally threatened, while the rest of our e-board and club members were put under the umbrella of “FUC” in the yaks. Every member was threatened through this. When we explained to you that multiple e-board members had been threatened and felt unsafe, it went without saying that Grace, a vocal and highly visible member of e-board fell into that group, whether we explicitly said her name or not.

We also want you to know that we are very offended by your suggestion that the threats we received “must be placed in context,” citing that they were quotes from “American Horror Story: Freak Show” and Whitest Kids U Know. Your letter suggests that this somehow negates the fact that they were used and employed in a threatening manner against us, and it propagates the idea that rape jokes are acceptable. No matter the original source of the words, they were employed to impart and/or threaten harm against us. Do you really believe that it is appropriate to brush these threats aside because they were quotes from popular culture? When threats are issued against members of your student body, you cannot ask for them to be “placed in context” of being a quote; rather, they must be taken seriously as the threats they were meant to be.

Worse still, the way you framed the conversation about these threats, suggesting that members of our club were somewhat at fault for opening themselves up to criticism, was eerily similar to the victim blaming that is so prominent in rape culture. By excusing two of the harmful yaks, you have chosen to ignore the hundreds more that were directed at Feminists United and our members, including ones with elements of stalking that prompted us to request the presence of the UMW police ourselves.

Lastly, you continue to say that limiting the use of Yik Yak on campus would take away free speech, despite the fact that other schools, both public and private, have done so without incident. By taking Yik Yak off of the campus wireless internet service, the administration would be demonstrating to the university community that it does not condone sexist, sexualized words and hate speech that created a sexually hostile environment for women at UMW. We remain deeply concerned about the campus environment and urge you to take action to ensure that by the time we return to UMW this fall, the environment will be free of further threats, intimidation or abuse based on our gender.

Feminists United

15 thoughts on “LETTER: Feminists United issues response to President Hurley

  1. Dear idiots:
    Yik Yak is a community based app – like Facebook, Twitter and the Internet in general it can be seen and accessed by anyone. Yes, it geolocates but it does not belong to you or UMW

    Also, when you put your whining cries all over TV and national news you might expect to get some comments

    You are just immature and crying that you got scolded.

  2. You are not being targeted for your gender, you are being targeted for your ignorance and hypocrisy. Speaking as a feminist, and as a woman, your group had my support until I visited your meetings and saw that it was emotion-based rather than logic-based. It was an unpleasant environment full of hatred and entitlement. You are not true feminists, you are radicals. Get a grip on reality and you’ll start making real change.

  3. “Stop” – great message. They are hateful, destructive and vengeful. When they get their way that is not enough… They are terrorists to democracy, decency, and simple human compassion.

  4. FUC, you lost. I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’ve about burned every bridge at the university. No one, and I mean no one is on your side at this point that isn’t in your immediate periphery. I’d suggest going back to reassess the situation with logic and not visceral reactionary sensationalism. So glad to have left this school. Thanks guys for cheapening my already devalued degree though, I appreciate it.

  5. “By taking Yik Yak off of the campus wireless internet service, the administration would be demonstrating to the university community that it does not condone sexist, sexualized words”

    And that’s about all “banning” Yik Yak from campus will accomplish, which won’t stop people from saying sexist speech, it’ll just continue through other channels. Why is FUC not going after Yik Yak itself?

  6. You may have had good intentions to begin with but, you have become a bunch of bullies and troublemakers NOT feminists. Real feminists should be ashamed of your group. You also might want to think about getting rid of the acronym “FUC”.

  7. As all yaks are archived, the school has been able to search for any yak naming Grace. She was not named in any threatening yak. Everyone loved that girl. Period. Everyone hated Paige, because she keeps writing such unfounded and illogical articles. So she’s gonna take some flak. If you can’t take it don’t dish it. Simple rules.

  8. If you don’t want to see Yik Yak on campus, DELETE IT YOURSELF. Don’t make it “I don’t want it so no one else can have it” situation.

  9. Dear FUC,
    I hope you get the opportunity to read this.

    First off, I know how close all of your members were with Grace and as someone who lost my best friend in recent years, I sympathize with you. Her name constantly being brought up must be hard.
    Now, I started off this scho year as a advocate for FUC, I thought your activeivsm on campus and what you all were doing was great. I started to see a different side (the real side) of your organization and members towards the middle of the fall semester 2014 when the “Greek Life” debate started. What I sow was a group that misinformed, cheated, and drove all their decisions off emotion, hate, and sexism. Since then, your club has fallen apart due to countless situations where non-professionalism was demonstrated. No longer does this campus support your existence. You have shaken this community to its core and the full support you use to have is gone.
    So yes FUC, UMW is tired and needs you to make real change, not just stur the pot because you feel as though you are entitled to.
    Also, no quickly note on Grace. Hurley did not in anyway draw that conclusion from thin air. You all drew an indirect connection between yik yak threats and her death. If you do not believe me, look at your complaint. This was most defiantly done on purpose as well as making a link between her killer and the rugby team. Both things you all did, ON PURPOSE. If it was not, you would have never had to mention the fact that he was a member, or that Grace was recieveing “threats” via yik yak days before her death. You may not have said, “Graces death was related to yik yak” but you opened the door for speculation. Something I found disgusting, it takes very weak minded people to use such a tragic event as a weapon and tool.
    As much as you all support the First Amendment when it is convent to you, you take no time walking over everyone else’s rights to free speech. Banning yik yak would be a violation of the first amendment. No if’s and’s or but’s about it. Just because other schools have done it doesn’t mean they are not in violation.
    Also, the two “threats” in question are not threats. Stop calling them that. In neither one is your club or any of your members mentioned. They are meirly references and quotes to pop culture. The time the American horror story quote was posted was during an episode. I can say with certainly that the person who wrote that was not referring to your club. This is typical of FUC though. You all take any opportunity to play the “oh poor me” card and use it to try to support your backwards agenda. Well, it might have worked previously, but not no more FUC. We see right through your lies and bull shit. It is time you take a step back and reevaluate how you all conduct business.
    I support Hurley’s letter, every word. He is saying what every student is thinking. Your club has pushed real Feminism back, you have slowed REAL progress. I hope you see that sooner than later, but with your track record, you’ll never see it.

  10. I dont really have an opinion on this topic but isn’t it sad this controversy is the only thing going on at UMW? UMW is just so boring. In a sick way Im kind of glad this all happeend. Keeps me entertained.

    Hurley shouldnt have shut the greek discussion down citing the rolling stone article or shut down rugby before the investigations were through. Hypocritically, he’s asking for everyone to wait for the investigation to be done here. That really bothers me and is the definition of political.

  11. FUC should stop responding ASAP. Hurley defeated them soundly on a point by point basis here. He utterly trounced them over and over again and their short response was childish at best.

    Compare Hurley’s calculated, straight-forward and well-written letter to the above response from FUC, and all I can see is a large, “NUH-UH!!!” It’s horribly embarrassing for the club, the school, the community, the United States, and the whole world.

    Nothing more than an angry stomping of their feet emotional response that any real feminist would be repulsed to see.

    FUC by responding in such a wild manner you’re utterly destroying the image of true feminists everywhere. This isn’t the 60’s where these sorts of guerrilla tactics are still usable. I thought we’ve grown from that into a new generation that evokes real change through thoughtfulness rather than rampaging around the campus like a wild mob.

    You’re all “educated” so please act like it. You’re the reason America will fall sooner than it deserves to. Shame on you all.

    Shame on you all.

  12. The tyrannical reign of this regime is nearing its end. I’m not sure who I’m more happy to see go, Hurley and Searcy or the FUC mob or my own self.

  13. where the odds are good but the good are odd.

    Guy who went to school with me there said “I love Mary Washington. I came here as an 18 year old, have been accused of raping a woman I wouldn’t cheat on my girlfriend with, get called insults I haven’t heard since middle school, and was called homophobic for telling my roommate to quiet down when he was getting buttfucked.”

    Mary Washington harbors the most entitled stinky bitchy women I’ve ever encountered. Oh I’m sorry, we just call those feminists these days.

  14. “stinky bitchy women”? Now there’s a type of insult I haven’t heard since middle school.

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