anonnynon Posted April 29, 2015 Share Posted April 29, 2015 I wrote this post a few days ago, and then sat on it, uncertain of whether or not I actually wanted to publish it. In the few days that I waited, another athlete was publicly accused of rape. For my university, this is the sixth one this year. This is not an issue that is going to go away anytime soon, and I'm forced to think this is an important conversation to have. -------------------------------- I’m struggling for words here, so I hope that all of this doesn’t sound too jumbled or unorganized. I think the title of the thread gives you a good idea of what I’m about to discuss. Background info: Two male students at my university were accused of rape of a female student and a female non-student back in the fall semester. The case has received a lot of press in our community because both men were athletes, and the university has cultivated a strong following for its athletic programs. The case is ongoing, but both men have been indicted on charges of rape. Both of their names and pictures have been released in the articles concerning the case. One of the men graduated at the end of the fall semester. The other remained enrolled (though removed from his team) and was in my class this spring semester. I’m in my third year in a sociology PhD program and have been a teaching associate since I entered the program. Because I teach sociology classes, it is common for us to cover topics relating to gender and sexual violence. Though the class I was teaching this spring related to food and society, I do have a section on gendered media and advertising regarding food, which includes themes of sexual violence. My class was relatively small, and we all get to know each other fairly well. I use small discussion groups on a regular basis, and students are assigned to a group the first week of class. So, there is a lot of interaction in my class between the students. I found out maybe a month in that he was in the class – when I read an article that used his picture. So I have been having a difficult time processing and trying to figure out if/how this might have impacted my classroom dynamics. This has been a high-profile case in our community for a few reasons: the male who had graduated was a star on his team, these accusations were not the only ones opened against male athletes in the fall, but (I think) the only ones where charges have not been dropped and the accused have been indicted. Now I don’t think that this is something I should have addressed in front of the classroom, but I find myself thinking about how the people in his group may have felt having to interact with him each time we did small group work? Knowing the stats on sexual assault, there were assuredly survivors in my class – did having him in the classroom impact their ability to learn? When giving the lecture on gendered advertising/sexual violence, do students take this information seriously with him sitting in the class? Do they feel protected? I have struggled all semester with wondering if I my students have felt alienated, unsupported, unprotected in my classroom because of this dynamic. I did discuss this briefly with my dept head and diss chair. Both were very supportive in making sure that I was okay to teach, but there wasn’t much discussion about impacts on my students. To be honest, this wasn’t something really surfaced for me until mid-semester, but it has been on my mind a lot. I’m not sure that I have any specific question. I guess I’m just wondering, with many other universities dealing with issues of sexual violence, have any of you been in similar situations? Heard of others? How or was it addressed at all? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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