Top College News Subscribe to the Newsletter

Matters of manliness

Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 21:01

 

Dear Editor,

The purpose of this letter is to initiate a dialogue about men that goes beyond rhetoric and negative stereotypes.  

It also aims to increase the student body’s awareness of the unique needs of college men and to introduce the proposal for a Men’s Educational Center (MEC) at the University of Vermont.

In early September 2012, Tom Gustafson and Annie Stevens released a report updating the UVM community on the 2011 Sigma Phi Epsilon incident. This report contained multiple recommendations made by the Gender Based and Sexual Violence Task Force. 

 

The purpose of this letter is to initiate a dialogue about men that goes beyond rhetoric and negative stereotypes.  

It also aims to increase the student body’s awareness of the unique needs of college men and to introduce the proposal for a Men’s Educational Center (MEC) at the University of Vermont.

In early September 2012, Tom Gustafson and Annie Stevens released a report updating the UVM community on the 2011 Sigma Phi Epsilon incident. This report contained multiple recommendations made by the Gender Based and Sexual Violence Task Force. 

Two of these recommendations were the hiring of a men’s educator and the creation of a men’s educational center. 

I believe that for the sake of all men and women at UVM, it is the duty of the university to take these recommendations seriously and act upon them.

Some may ask why UVM should follow through on these recommendations. Some will say that men don’t have “issues” related to their gender. 

Some will say that men have enough privilege, however, this is not the case. 

The fact is, men have been socialized since birth to be “competitive, unemotional, and invulnerable.” 

Boys’ socialization into adulthood includes a great deal of societal and peer pressure to conform to an unattainable model of masculinity, which results in many negative and destructive outcomes. 

For example, men are more likely to be the victims of violent crime, men ages 15-24 commit suicide at nearly five times the rate of women, men have a four-year university graduation rate 10 percent lower than that of women and the percentage of incarcerated men ages 18-24 is 14 times higher than that of women. 

UVM’s 2011 Campus Climate Survey reports that male students are more likely to experience harassment and discrimination. 

They also report lower rates of feeling a sense of belonging in the UVM campus community and lower rates of knowing how and where to get help if they are physically or sexually assaulted. 

These are some of the serious issues college aged men face that need attention.

A men’s center would play a critical role at UVM by addressing these issues and creating a safe space for men where they will not feel judged or looked down upon.  

This safe space would allow for one-on-one or group interactions to discuss issues such as personal health, past trauma or any number of personal issues. 

A men’s center can offer educational resources and referrals that are specific to men, such as substance use/abuse, sexual and mental health, abuse and developmental concerns. 

A men’s center would provide this bridge while educating men about diverse expressions of masculinity, not just our society’s set ideal (heterosexual white male, focused on making money, overtly sexually active, overly aggressive, competitive, risk-taker, avoids femininity). 

A men’s center would strive to promote positive masculine ideals that are inclusive of sexuality, race, gender, sex, likes and dislikes.

I wrote this article to bring attention to the challenges that men face, and to generate discussion about these issues. 

It is time for our society and the university to put a focus on men’s issues. 

Therefore I fully support the hiring of a men’s educator in combination with the creation of a men’s educational center, and I urge the appropriate university officials to take immediate action on these recommendations. 

If you would like to fill out a survey on the issue of a Men’s Educational Center at UVM, please go to the following link: http://goo.gl/lMyVT.

 

Sincerely,

Christian Matthews

Class of 2014

Recommended: Articles that may interest you

Be the first to comment on this article! Log in to Comment

You must be logged in to comment on an article. Not already a member? Register now

Log In