NOT OK: Campus safety group calls out female students in "walk of shame" tweet
With the current concern about sexual violence and harassment in colleges across America, school organizations need to be more vigilant than ever in guarding against campus sexist culture. So when a University of Kansas-affiliated campus safety group, the Jayhawk Buddy System, sent out an insensitive tweet, their disrespect sparked legit outrage among some students.
“S/O to all those (mostly ladies, I might add) who are getting their road work in this am,” the group’s Twitter account tweeted on on Sunday, February 8.
Backlash from students, who resented the implication that women were out early coming back on a “walk of shame” to their dorm rooms after spending the night out, was immediate.
“I found it really offensive and the fact that they were calling out women directly to be really inappropriate,” Madeline Houlihan, a freshman at the school, told Fox affiliate WSAF.
So she tweeted back at them:
And they responded to another student that they were getting incensed over nothing, tweeting: “This account has always focused on the positive behaviors of students and this tweet was no different.”
While a few students are defending the campus group, several students and alums are not standing for such insensitivity—especially from a University-backed safety group.
Sophomore Harrison Baker told the school’s newspaper, “It has been the latest string of mismanagement in administration that [relates] to sexism and sexual issues, [which] are still predominant in our institution.”
Freshman Kaycee De Graaf added, “[The tweet] offended all ladies as a whole. . . a person that is supposed to represent the University should have some self control and empathy.”
To De Graaf and Baker’s point, there’s a bigger issue at hand that goes way beyond a tweet. Female students in campuses across the country are defending themselves against victim-blaming, abuse and lack of protection. Even a gender-skewed tweet, calling out women in a suggestively shaming way, reinforces sexist culture on campus and undermines female students. More concerning, is that neither the administration nor the campus group has made an official apology as of yet. While campus officials are looking into the events, a representative for the school only told local news the following:
“KU appreciates the student concerns, and the department is reviewing appropriate use of social media. This is an example of why the university engages on social media, where we can interact with students in real time. Staff have reached out personally to students who responded on Twitter and otherwise, including meeting with several students.”
Hopefully, those meetings with students will lead to a better understanding about campus sexism and the need for change.