Over the past few semesters, through such sources as the Campus Climate Report, we as students have seen that there exists a certain attitude toward women on our campus that is unhealthy. The delineation of the problem has been expressed to us time and time again. One must begin to wonder, though, how we can move past articulating the problem and actually do something about it.
With this in mind, the staff of The Bucknellian is very happy to see lectures come to campus that attempt to engage the problem and educate the student body. Specifically, the recent lecture on the porn culture in America by Gail Dines and the Speak UP Bucknell initiative have been two outstanding means of educating University students.
The problem we have found with these opportunities is that they are, for the most part, poorly attended and poorly advertised. When all is said and done, the vast majority of the audience at these events are those that do not necessarily need to learn about the topic; it mainly consists of women and Women’s & Gender Studies students.
A lack of communication across the school and the elimination of the Plan 4 Prominence (P4P) program have seemed to lead to a change in audiences for events such as the “Pornland” talk. Rather than a Greek male-dominated audience, those who attend the lecture are generally those who are already knowledgeable on the subject.
Putting events like this on the Message Center does not ensure that the entire campus will find out about them. In fact, most students do not read the Message Center at all. The only other realistic way for students to find out about these events is through class; for example, a Women’s & Gender Studies professor might tell his or her students that a speaker is coming and offer extra points for attendance.
The problem with this dynamic is that the students in these classes are already educated on the subject. A great irony exists in the fact that the students who truly need to attend these lectures are the ones who are least likely to know they’re happening.
We understand that it can be difficult to inform an entire student body on academic lectures and events throughout the year. We also understand the difficulty inherent in getting these students to attend lectures without an incentive-based system like P4P.
Most students, be it out of apathy or laziness, or because of other obligations, simply will not go to lectures that do not directly relate to them if they do not have to.
It will be extremely hard to change this attitude in students, but it also is essential to the attitude and climate of our university. It seems that we will only be able to make this happen through a communal effort, and perhaps through an administrative change that stimulates an incentive-based system for students.