It was a total shock for anxious parents and Brock students, staff and faculty that many incoming first-years were greeted by a group of males at the East Academic building holding up a sign that read, “Honk if you’re droppin’ off your daughter” during Residence Move-In Day over the Labour Day long weekend. However, it is not so surprising that this incident has been receiving a mixed reaction with its fair share of negative publicity. Instead of Brock University’s 50th anniversary being the focal point during the first month back to school, images and comments about how heinous this gesture was have been circulating via social media, the radio and newspaper articles.
I’ve scoured the Internet reading people’s remarks about the students involved and the sign they created, which in their minds was probably playful and comedic. I also came across an image of a group of females that responded to the incident with signs that counterattacked the former. The primary concern that has been addressed or at least alluded to, due to this incident is that female student’s safety has now somehow been compromised.
This isn’t anything new. Recently, Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz vowed to carry around her twin-sized mattress to raise awareness of the University having mishandled her sexual assault case until her alleged rapist is brought to justice. In 2012, CNN was criticized for their biased coverage of a case in which reporters sympathized with two males from Steubenville High School that were eventually convicted for sexually assaulting a female victim and then recording and publicizing multimedia content of the incident. Even more so, this is not the first time that a sign such as this has been created: there is a similar photo taken of male students from Michigan State University during one of their Frosh Weeks.
While the details of the consequences that the group of Brock male students faced have not surfaced, it is important to note that Brock University Administrators have always and will continue to put all student’s safety at the top of their priority list. It is unfortunate that many media outlets have began to label the University as a place that condones this behaviour, but let me be the first to ensure you that there have been many steps forward within the last few years toward providing a safer campus and community.
These steps include:
- Secured funding for The Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Centre, which allows for an expansion of services to effectively support students
- Foot Patrol service provided by BUSU and volunteers who assist students around campus during dark hours (even after Foot Patrol officially ends, Campus Security is available to walk students to their cars and residences)
- Campus Security, whose primary duty is to prevent crimes and ensure peace within the community
- 166 Emergency Phone stations around campus that are identifiable with a shining blue light
- The University updates emergency contact information provided on the home page of the Brock Mobile App
- An always up-to-date Campus Security website that provides on-campus and local resources to ensure that students are safe at all times
As a female Brock student myself, I know first-hand what it feels like to be in an unfamiliar environment, let alone walk by myself to the closest convenient store past eight o’clock. I also know what it feels like to be gawked and whistled at during those exciting Frosh Week parties, but never has a doubt crossed my mind that as long as I was taking care of my own safety, Brock’s security affiliates would always cover my back.
Residence Move-In Day may have started the 2014–15 school year off on the wrong foot, but let’s bring it back right where it belongs and continue our days knowing that Brock University is a fair and safe environment to experience the next four years of our undergrads.