SAC issues statement on “Professors and School Girls” party at DU

The Social Affairs Committee (SAC) issued a formal statement about the DU Party themed “Professors and School Girls” on Wednesday, writing, “We did not intend to support or in any way promote the gender stereotypes or power dynamics to which [two Swarthmore] students were so opposed.” The committee elaborated, “advertisements for all SAC-funded events are the responsibility of the group throwing the party and are not screened by SAC members. Offensive signs and banners were not and have never been endorsed by SAC.”

Two students, David McCandlish ’05 and Raghu Karnad ’05 had originally approached student council with the complaint that DU’s theme “Professors and School Girls” was inappropriate. McCandlish and Karnard took issue with the fact that a “student body [funded] a party whose theme was in conflict with our community values”. McCandlish also added, “Imagine being a first-year and having attended the party – you might have walked away with a skewed perspective of how we view gender roles and sexual identity on this campus. We feel that SAC and Student Council have an obligation to correct this false impression and to affirm our core beliefs on gender equality.”

SAC voted to issue a statement after it became aware of complaints from the community. Myra Vallianos ’05, Student Events Advisor on Student Council and an ex officio member of SAC, stated that while SAC knows the titles of events prior to giving funding, it does not know how student groups will advertise for the events. In the case of the DU party “Professors and School Girls”, Vallianos said that advertising was “a little over the top”.

The full text of SAC’s statement appears below:

The members of the Social Affairs Committee recognize that it is impossible to expect that every SAC-funded event will not offend any students. Our decisions are always subjective – they depend on the collective opinion of eleven members, though each week our decisions are (theoretically) filtered through both our dean’s advisory council and Student Council. Still, we do not assume that our decisions will directly reflect the opinions of every single Swarthmore student but rather strive to be certain that the events we fund will appeal to a broad range of students.

In last week’s Phoenix, two students expressed serious concerns with SAC’s decision to fund the “Professors and Schoolgirls” all-campus party. We did not intend to support or in any way promote the gender stereotypes or power dynamics to which these students were so opposed.

Additionally, we feel it is important to note that SAC funding is determined based on the proposal alone. Advertisements for all SAC-funded events are the responsibility of the group throwing the party and are not screened by SAC members. Offensive signs and banners were not and have never been endorsed by SAC.

Signed:
Social Affairs Committee


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