Rape and sexual assault are ubiquitous at Williams. Not the acts themselves, I pray, but a stroll through any building on campus yields a thousand different posters politely reminding you to get consent before proceeding with other evening activities. Students regularly flock to events like Take Back the Night. All freshmen undergo sessions of RASAN talks as part of the small handful of student organizations afforded official time-slots among the First Days rituals. Sexual assault awareness is tightly woven into the more general fabric of Williams culture, and every year, it’s increasingly the case.
Since last spring, there has been no shortage of criticism for College Council and the low voter turnout in recent years. Last year, participation was at an abysmal 39 percent–a figure that, while looking back at the three previous elections, seems rather remarkable. In the 2011, 2012, and 2013 elections, voter turnout rates were 65 percent, 59 percent, and 64 percent, respectively. When comparing these numbers to last year’s outcome, the sudden drop does not appear to follow a pattern of decreasing participation.
That question isn’t as cheeky as it sounds, based on conversations last year in the Committee on Educational Policy.
The group considered how students here move through the curriculum. We gathered data on enrollments across academic divisions, on majors and double majors, and on other relevant student choices. We also elicited student and faculty opinions on curricular matters through a number of surveys and public discussions. We’d like to highlight some of our findings as a starting point for a broader conversation.
I never want to hear “consent is sexy” again.
I’m not going to argue that consent is not sexy. Consent is what makes sex sex. If anything, this should be obvious. I am, though, aggravated that as students we have to be sold consent with a promise essentially saying, “Don’t worry, it won’t kill the mood! It’s sexy!”
The male non-athlete who goes out regularly on the weekends is a rare breed at Williams.
For lack of better options, I decided to hit up a party at an off-campus apartment last weekend. Upon reaching our destination, a friend of mine and I were asked by a Pituitary Case manning the door what teams we played for. My friend, speaking honestly, said lacrosse. I, however, do not play a sport, so I merely nodded my head and walked into the party. The Pituitary Case, confused by my gesture, said to no one in particular, “That kid’s not on the lacrosse team.” I continued on into the party disregarding this friendly gatekeeper figure, but I did begin to wonder: Why did this guy care? More importantly, why did I care? Why did I not just say honestly that I’m not an athlete? Why did I feel intimidated?