Title IX, Nudity, & Reed Traditions: An Honor Council Forum

by emilyeggin

Thursday, September 19th, 2013
4:00pm, Vollum Lounge
Honor Council present, Emily facilitated
Around 90 students, faculty, and staff in attendance.
Bullet points signify an opinion expressed by a person, subpoints made by the same person.
The comments at the end tend more toward recommendations for future directions, and is separated.
Opening Statements
Roman Garcia (Honor Council)
• Introduce subject
• Neutral facilitation
• Ground Rules
• Be compassionate
Mike Brody
• Consistent with Honor Principle to provide venues to seek comfort, repair, and healing when not able to confront person who caused them harm
• Importance of Title IX: If there is a hostile environment, Reed must investigate
• An investigation is an inquiry
Dean
• Disappointed with Pantheon
• Steps are being taken to make sure this doesn’t happen again—HumPlay handout
o Give people a heads up
o Improve communication of what this is for
Opened up the Floor
• Student expresses importance of nudity to them
o Supports continued tradition of portrayal of Gods & Goddesses
o Nudity is part of her identity
o We need to communicate if people are uncomfortable
o If there are restrictions placed, it will affect nudists in community
• Director of HumPlay in 2008
o Made artistic choice to be naked
o This is a way men can oppress women
o Rules of conduct: we should think more holistically
o Does not believe anything that makes anyone uncomfortable is a Reed tradition
• Concern: focusing on nudity versus the behavior that was aggressive/threatening
o Should be aware of how we appear to those outside Reed College
• HumPlay director this year: taking measures to address issues
• Difficult balance between providing Trigger warnings and banning something outright
• Blurring line between appearance & behavior: creating restrictions against nudity risks saying something about bodies is inherently bad
• Must address issue of access: people need to be able to get to class
o Assumption of knowledge restricts access
o There is only 1 wheelchair accessible entrance to Vollum
o Avoid gendered violence
• Definition of sex: does the nakedness really constitute discrimination if done to both genders?
o Censorship is the wrong direction
o It is not fair to limit everyone based on a few individuals
• Aggressive behavior and access is a problem
o Reed traditions often hinge on surprise
o We should provide alternatives, make sure there is forewarning
• Question: is nudity in itself a problem, or was it the aggressive behavior
• There are groups of people on campus who find nudity uncomfortable, such as international students
• A HumPlay participant: Future plans to make the Pantheon clothed, contained, and less aggressive, and provide forewarning
o Distinction between offensive v. uncomfortable v. Triggering (trauma response)
• Former HumPlay director: need more communication between leaders
o Older directors should advise new directors
• What decides communal discomfort?
• Intent is important
o Assume good intent
o Be aware of issues of malice
o Surprise makes it beautiful
• How does Honor inform informal confrontations?
• Fairness: Honor Principle asks us to go beyond what is fair. We should be compassionate
• The fact that the event is welcoming makes it especially important that we not risk peoples’ comfort
• Issue affects faculty and staff as well as students
• Nudity is not necessarily sexual
o Should inform people that nudity will be occurring, but it should be peoples’ job to avoid nudity if it offends them
• Some appreciate the discomfort of the Pantheon
o It’s a growing experience
o We need to evaluate the benefits and potential harm
• Concerned with callousness of Reed’s response
o If something is less than honorable to someone, people should pay attention
• Two conversations happening
o Pantheon
o Bigger context: Honor, SA, triggers
o Where will it go?
• Where do we draw the line of cultural difference versus triggers?
o We need to look at our values and principles and ask what would we sacrifice
• When something makes someone uncomfortable, and this is the objective of the tradition, should this still be a Reed tradition?
Recommendations
• We should also let people know in advance what makes Reed ‘spicy’
• Reed should institutionalize education about trauma
• We need to make sure the community addresses concerns
• We should all try to understand triggers
• Encourage being up front about Reed traditions in admissions office
• Reed should not be a place where if you aren’t comfortable you have to get out
• The goal should be to expose people to a non-threatening nude person

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