The Wichitan

‘Males’ suspended pending investigation

Ethan Metcalf

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Posters advertising "Save the Males" were displayed in Pierce Hall.

Posters advertising “Save the Males” were displayed in Pierce Hall.

Posters displayed around Pierce Hall used, according to some, derogatory language to advertise “Save the Males,” an upcoming multi-event program in Pierce.

The event has been put on hold until internal investigations are concluded next week.

“It has been suspended indefinitely until we can perform a full review of the program and its content,” said Michael Mills, director of housing and dining services, in an email. “Like others, I did not agree with the poster and the portrayal it gave of our department, and so we asked for them to be removed and for the program to be suspended until I could return from my vacation and have the program reviewed in its entirety.”

One sentence in particular seemed to reference the theater department’s recent productions of “Vagina Monologues” and “In the Next Room.”

“We don’t need plays about our genitals and self-gratification techniques to discover who we are,” the poster reads.

Mills said the group to review “Save the Males” has yet to be assembled, but part of the review will center on Title IX, and a group outside of housing will review the program further.

“We want to be thorough and since part of the review will revolve around Title IX, we want our university Title IX representative, Matthew Park, to be part of the review as well. Like myself, Mr. Park was on vacation the latter half of last week and is expected to return early this week,” Mills said in an email. “In addition to visiting with Mr. Park, we also plan to have a group outside of housing review the program content for learning outcomes and appropriateness before, and if, it moves forward.”

Laura Jefferson, associate theater professor and director of “In the Next Room,” said the language on the poster was tasteless and derogatory.

“That’s not what the play was about. Did this person even see the play,” Jefferson said. “I wonder what it is about equal rights in the United States that scares people into doing stuff like this.”

Wayne Schields, assistant director of housing and dining services and Pierce hall director, said he approved and helped write the flier’s copy.

“An RA sent me an original version, I took out, believe it or not, some more inflaming words and I made it tongue-in-cheek,” Schields said. “Living in a male dorm, you hear conversations throughout the year. A lot of talk was about the recent plays put on, so I did a play on words with that.”

Timmie Young, computer science freshman and Pierce Hall resident, said the program should not have been canceled because of the complaints against the poster.

“I think the poster was only half serious. There was a program planned where guys from Pierce would do manly things like filet a fish or make a campfire, but it got canceled when people complained,” Young said. “Everyone can have their own opinions, but one opinion shouldn’t stop a whole program.”

Schields said “Save the Males,” scheduled for next week with a closing cookout April 30, is meant to teach Pierce residents “things every guy should know.”

“Guys don’t know how to do a lot of stuff that, for instance, my generation knew how to do,” Schields said. “It is various programs, for instance, an active demonstration on how to change your oil, properly change a tire and put the lug nuts back on, how to gut a fish.”

Schields said some speakers for the event are still up in the air, but students are taking the lead in running “Save the Males.”

“Mainly it’s student led. The RAs, they’ve volunteered their services to show the residents, the guys in the building,” Schields said. “I say guys, but I mean it’s welcome to anybody.”


16 Responses to “‘Males’ suspended pending investigation”

  1. Goopy on April 8th, 2015 2:11 pm

    Let the men be men. Perhaps if we didn’t spend our days emasculating them they wouldn’t have to stoop to that. P.S. “Equal rights” means allowing men to also share an opinion…


  2. Kristen Garrison on April 8th, 2015 3:54 pm

    The recent movement to “Save the Males” has gotten me thinking: what a great opportunity for a good conversation about the ability of popular culture to push our buttons and get us off the couch. As a feminist, I’m disappointed by the disparaging references to The Vagina Monologues, as well as the implication that being a women is somehow only one step above cockroach status. However, as a teacher, I’m curious about just how committed these men are to challenging denigrating stereotypes. If they are truly committed to social change and advancing the male cause, then I strongly encourage them to forego the silly caricatures and think more critically about ALL the stereotypes that limit and bind. For some ideas about how to get started, I suggest they explore the strategies of another group that got tired of being falsely represented: feminists.


  3. Feminist Fuhrer on April 8th, 2015 9:18 pm

    As a femme-presenting queer trans non-binary two-spirit genderfluid, xe/xir/hir/xirself pronouns, pansexual, PoC (1/16th Native American), white-passing except for hijab, Muslim (convert), neuro-atypical (self-diagnosed aspergers), economically privileged, sex-positive, body-positive, vegan, sociology major, loves Disney, I’M DEEPLY OFFENDED BY THIS CONTROVERSIAL POSTER! Somebody needs to pay for offending me. We must smash the voices of those who oppose our noble goal of Tolerance! We must destroy the archaic practices of “tire changing”, “oil changing” and “gutting fish. These inherently sexist acts have NO place in our enlightened society! Follow me! (If that speech doesn’t work, then here are some trigger words) Privilege!….. Rape Culture!…. Patriarchy!….


  4. Paul on April 9th, 2015 7:46 pm

    I’m still trying to figure out how this is demeaning to women. It talked about men. You can be offended by anything if that is your goal. If you don’t think society is trying to change our definition of what a man should be then you simply aren’t paying attention or choose not to. That is not to approve or defend that action just to point out that it is there. I’ve read in official studies that my children don’t need me that only a woman is needed. Hunting is now barbaric and cruel. Don’t even get me started on the evil of guns. Aggression is to avoided at all costs. Identifying anything as “male” is sexist because obviously anything a man can do a woman can. Never saw a play about a vagina and don’t care to. I didn’t see “Menopause, the Musical” either. I am considering writing “The Penis Diaries” and hoping to have it made into a musical. I take no position on any of the above. We all feel how we feel about society’s changes. But if you don’t recognize the changing expectation of what is “manly” or “masculine” and how that could make some men unhappy and feeling targeted then I will pull that age old expression ……. You don’t understand because you aren’t one. Kinda sucks when it’s thrown at you, doesn’t it? Remember that next time you talk about uniquely female things look at the men in your life like they have two heads because they simply can’t understand. Neither can you.


    Kendra Reply:

    Let me ask you a question. You seen that phrase on the poster that talks about repealing society’s need to turn men into women? That right there is precisely why this poster is offensive. That sentence implies that there is something wrong with being a woman in the first place; or for that matter, even a feminine boy. I’m not saying masculinity is bad, or even that exploring it is bad. But these boys went about this the wrong way. If you’re going to have an event for males, please have an event for all males. Not Just the masculine, women hating kind. As far as the plays go, I’m a former member of the MSU theater department and saw both the Vagina Monologues and In The Next Room. If you think that The Vagina Monologues is all about how great it is to be a girl, you are way way wrong. In fact a lot of the topics are about how other people treat you differently when you’re a woman, how to love yourself for who you are, and feel comfortable in your own skin. And as for me, I feel particularly angered that this was put up by the same boys who attacked me and a group of my friends in the dorm parking lot, and drove beside us all the way down the street to the gym to tell us how pretty we looked even when we told them we weren’t interested. I think we should have a event on how to treat people right before we have an event on how to be a stereotypical dude bro. Thank you.


  5. Kevin Hardison on April 9th, 2015 11:03 pm

    So, exactly how does this infringe on women’s equal rights?


  6. Professor on April 14th, 2015 8:22 am

    Wayne, we will be so sorry to see you go in May (said no one ever).


  7. This Is Jack's Fact on April 20th, 2015 4:03 pm

    • About 40% of children whose parents are divorced have not seen their fathers in at least a year
    • Today’s parents spend about 40% less time with their children than did parents of earlier generations
    • 53% of children growing up in single parent families will live in poverty
    • Adolescent boys who are fatherless are 3 to 4 times more likely to be arrested for juvenile offenses
    • Daughters of single mothers are 111% more likely to have children as teenagers, while their daughters are 164% more likely.
    • Children living with only female heads of household are 40 times more likely to be abused
    • 40% of children do not have a father in the house
    • US taxpayers spend close to $2 billion each year to build, maintain, and staff prisons for the sons of adolescent mothers
    • About 80% of prisoners nationwide either had an abusive father or no father at all
    • 81% of all adolescent boys that committed rape are fatherless
    • 90% of men under age 35 in prison grew up without a father
    • Family income drops 30-70% when the father leaves the family
    • Overall, the federal government spends $99.8 Billion every year on programs that in some way support father absent homes
    • 65% of African American children live in father-absent homes. Nearly 4 in 10 (36%) Hispanic children, and nearly 3 in 10 (27%) white children live in father-absent homes.
    • Compared to living with both parents, living in a single-parent home doubles the risk that a child will suffer physical, emotional, or educational neglect.
    • Compared to their peers living with both parents, children in single parent homes had:
    – a 77% greater risk of being physically abused
    – an 87% greater risk of being harmed by physical neglect
    – a 165% greater risk of experiencing notable physical neglect
    – a 74% greater risk of suffering from emotional neglect
    – an 80% greater risk of suffering serious injury as a result of abuse
    – overall, a 120% greater risk of being endangered by some type of child abuse.
    • Obese children were less likely to report that their father’s were physically active than were the children of non-obese children. This determinant not found for mothers.

    Maybe someone will actually address the issues that I believe the program intended to address. But, feelings, y’all.


  8. Professor on April 21st, 2015 4:19 pm

    STFU, Wayne.


  9. This Is Jack's Fact on April 22nd, 2015 2:33 pm

    Yet another intelligent rebuttal by the “professor”. Can’t handle facts? Can’t handle a reasonable discourse over an issue that social scientists from all walks of life agree is an important issue to discuss? Maybe you are afraid of a differing opinion, that you are the antithesis of what a liberal arts institution should be. But, since you have made a request, well, you know where to find me. Come give it your best shot.


  10. Androgynous on April 22nd, 2015 4:42 pm

    As interesting as your intelligent quips are “Professor” they don’t exactly have any place in this discussion. Either add to the conversation in a mature fashion or save your comments for face to face encounters.
    Anyway, what is truly sad about this incident is that the main victims here are actually the males who don’t fit the approved male role. On the flyer the arguement is made that men are men and they are not, and should not be, milquetoast (timid, meek, or unassertive) or feminine (which is subjective). Therefore, a cookie cutter layout is being presented as “male”, and any guy who doesn’t fit the mold is being told they are basically defective in some way. There is no right way to be male or female, in the same way that there are no purely male or female activities. Everyone should just focus on being human; it makes things much simpler.


  11. This Is Jack's Fact on April 22nd, 2015 7:33 pm

    Thank you “Androgynous” for a fair critique. Allow me to explain myself, or at least attempt to.

    The flier was a dreadful failure at satire. Yes, I poked fun at the theater productions (more on that shortly), and “milquetoast” manhood. But, something seemingly missed by everyone, is that I poked fun at the notion of manhood itself with the image of the lumberjack. That is, “men should be lumberjacks…but, come learn how to change your oil and tires, tie a tie, and eat at a formal dining setting.” Again, as the final editor of the flier, I—and I alone—take full responsibility of the flier’s content and subsequently I apologize to anyone it offended. I have spent eight years here doing a very demanding job, but I have always attempted to treat every student as if they were my own child. I hate that as I am on my way out, I have somehow tainted that.

    Contrary to belief, not only have I seen The Vagina Monologues but have read the script. While I do find the play makes men out to be brutes and predators, I 100% support the department’s production of the play and ANY production that brings to light controversial issues. I also applaud the light it sheds on domestic and sexual abuse. Personally, I have experience with both, and it took many years and conversations to work through those lingering issues from my youth. Many of those years and conversations were spent with First Step here in Wichita Falls, where I spent a few years volunteering by co-facilitating a group of male sexual assault survivors in the 1990s. My point is not to disclose, it is to point out the very reasons why I support The Vagina Monologues being produced anywhere.

    As for the male issues, I worked for nearly a decade speaking with incarcerated youths and violent men at Allred Maximum security prison. In the late 1990s, after seeing root causes of the male violence problem being associated with fatherless households, I wrote and received a grant for a male-involvement program. The state of Texas funded it—the first of its kind in North Texas—and it was accepted by numerous schools and detention facilities in the area. I am well versed in this area. The purpose of the recently cancelled program was to connect men to whatever sense of manhood they wanted. I regret that my poor decision with the flier prevented this from occurring.

    In the last two weeks, I have met with several professors, some of them feminists, and have heard simultaneously their complaints about the flier but also their happiness that I was at least attempting to bring male gender issues into the realm of academia. Dr. Garrison and Dr. Veazey—thank you, your words were not only educational but they came at the right time. I hope this program gains traction next year under new supervision and direction.

    Thank you again, “Androgynous,” for the critique and helping to steer the conversation to one that is productive.


    Androgynous Reply:

    You are most welcome “Jack’s Facts”. In truth it is moments like this that I regret no longer being an on-campus student. While I truly have no choice in the matter I still miss being at MSU where I can actually interact with my fellow students and the faculty. I have been to a few of your previously organized programs for the guys of Peirce Hall, and they were enlightening to say the least. In all honesty, it was simply reassuring that these young men were being exposed to a truth that many of them may have never been aware of beforehand. Hearing your explanation on what was to be presented in this new program puts me at ease. I will not lie, when I first read the flyer I was shocked and slightly irritated, though I think the activities you highlighted would be beneficial for many.

    Contrary to “Professor’s” beliefs, I as well as many others will indeed be sad to see you leave when the time comes. Many of the men in Peirce Hall see you as a role model and a teacher, and even though you and I did not always see eye to eye you had my respect. The boys dorm is suffering a huge blow by losing you. I am unaware of where you are heading next, but wherever it is I wish you and your family the best of luck.


  12. Glezarie on April 25th, 2015 12:36 am

    There is no way any thought or planning has gone beyond merely talking about going fishing or hiking. Until they have actual dates, it’s just hot air needing to vent in a half hearted attempt in the form of a flier. Who knew a couple of plays could be inspiring? It obviously pinched a nerve for a few so called men that apparently feel their masculinity rivaled by what’s premiering in the theater.


  13. Androgynous on April 26th, 2015 3:55 pm

    Glezarie, speaking from experience I can say that your statement about this program being half-hearted is simply not true. Peirce Hall has produced several male oriented, life lesson programs before and they were all well thought out, relevant, as well as well executed. I have little doubt that had this particular program been allowed to occur that many would have benefited from it. Unfortunately, in this incident poor marketing choices were made.

    I will agree that many have been confused and annoyed by the recent theater productions, but it is unwise to assume that they are the sole reason behind why this program was thought up in the first place. Was the wording misguided? Yes. Are they wrong? Not entirely. Part of being a real feminist is understanding that both sides are being pushed around. For instance, while women are not taken seriously in law enforcement, men are not taken seriously as nurses. On TV women are portrayed as helpless or love sick, while men are cast as dangerous or moronic. I am not saying that some women are not obsessed with love or that some men do not do some incredibly stupid things, only that these are only some of the variations of what a person can be, yet they are usually the only characteristics we are routinely shown. Sure one side has been dealing with this nonsense longer, but that does not mean that the other side should be left to suffer because of it. We need to work together because blatantly attack one side or the other helps absolutely no one. We are human first and foremost, not male and female.


  14. Stereotypical Dude Bro on April 29th, 2015 3:00 am

    From: “Stereotypical Dude Bro”
    From the sheer number of comments on this article, I can tell that we were clearly on to something greater than we ever hoped – something beneficial for all students here. While we regret the way we initially went about promoting our program, we do not regret the fact that we stepped out and attempted to have a program that would teach important life skills and facilitate fruitful discussion about what being a man looks like in today’s ever-changing world.

    “Glezarie,” actually a lot of thought went into this program. Pierce Hall consistently hosts discussions centered on controversial issues (i.e. the Ferguson incidents, racial issues, poverty, fatherless homes in America, etc.) because we realize that, as students of a liberal arts school, it is beneficial for our intellectual growth to raise questions and seek truth, even if certain beliefs are different, unpopular, or offensive to some. We resent that fact that you called our ideas “hot air needing to vent,” but we respect your opinion. Furthermore, our masculinity is not tied up in what is premiering in the theater. That reference in our first flier was a careless and playful jab that we did not realize would create such a stir. (Usually, no one bats an eye at our posters.) Additionally, masculinity is something unique to each man. While building a fire and changing my tires has proven valuable to me, that’s not what my manhood rests on. Personally, being a man is about putting others first, respecting others, and defending what I find worthy of standing up for. It’s about being selfless in how I serve and love others. That’s what being a man is to me. At any rate, those traditionally manly skills are things many of us on staff grew up around, and we simply wanted to pass those along to residents – male and female alike.

    “Kendra,” thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear about how you and your friends were treated in the dorm parking lot. I want to make it clear that no one on our staff knows what you’re talking about with your harassment allegations. However, we don’t take your claims lightly. As student-leaders on this campus, we do not endorse or condone any sort of harassment. Also, we never said that being a woman was bad. Women and men are both important. We want people to be who they are and be secure in their own skin. Pierce Hall makes a collective effort to ensure all residents are comfortable being exposed to various perspectives on issues. Engaging in these types conversations is a huge part of college to us. If we do end up getting this program up and running again like we originally planned, I sincerely invite you to come join us.

    We’ve enjoyed reading (almost) all of the insightful comments on this article. At this point, we’re not sure what’s to come with our “Save the Males” program. We are respectfully abiding by all suspension orders. Again, while we wish we could go back and re-package our program’s promotion, we are confident that the issues and skills we brought to the forefront are still very relevant for everyone at MSU. We are deeply rooted to this university and are proud to be Mustangs. Thanks again for all of the feedback, guys!


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