Student reactions mixed about 'Most' campaign

    Plans to modify the Student Safety Awareness Program’s rape prevention campaign are underway, according to program director Nancy Wahlig.

    Isaac Sullivan
    Guardian

    The most visible part of the campaign is its posters, which read: “”Two out of three UCSD guys rarely or never have sex with a partner who has been drinking.””

    Wahlig said student reaction to the campaign was mixed.

    Muir senior Trevor Tan said he favors the campaign.

    “”It’s a good idea to raise awareness on campus about the etiquette of respecting other people and not taking advantage of them,”” Tan said. “”However, it’s hard for me to believe that most guys would avoid having sex just because their partner is drunk, especially considering how lax most college students are about getting drunk. I don’t know how effective these posters are, but it’s a good start for this campaign.””

    Revelle junior Mike Tolleth said he found the message cryptic and had no idea it was targeted toward guys.

    “”I thought it was targeted to girls to discourage them from drinking,”” Tolleth said.

    Revelle sophomore Pamela Rahn said the ambiguity of the message lends itself to parody.

    “”It’s easy to twist the message,”” Rahn said. “”The message is not too strong and I know many people on campus who’ve made fun of it.””

    One student who derided the poster campaign during an on-campus open mic night last quarter was Warren sophomore Reid Barrett, who said the statistic was misleading.

    “”It’s hard to tell whether it’s saying we’re doing good or we’re doing bad,”” Barrett said. “”If the purpose of this is to say that UCSD guys aren’t good about keeping their dicks in their pants, should we really put them in public places on campus where campus tours come in on campus? Plus, the photo looks a bit ridiculous; it’s just a very cartoonish photo.””

    Despite the mixed reviews, the campaign was still effective in fulfilling its original intent, according to Wahlig.

    “”It has started discussion, which is certainly what we wanted to do with the grant so men could start talking with each other,”” she said.

    The campaign’s statistics, including the one on the first poster, were tabulated from a survey distributed last year to 4,000 UCSD males, 831 of which were returned.

    Questions ranged from the participants’ own sexual habits to their perceptions about the sexual activity of others. Among the greatest misperceptions the campaign attempted to clear up were those UCSD males had about the behavior of their peers.

    “”What we found is that most UCSD guys have a lot of facts and information that is correct about the issue of rape,”” Wahlig said. “”Their behavior is very positive, but we did find that there’s a lot of misperceptions about other UCSD males; most people believe that most UCSD guys would have sex with somebody who is drunk.””

    The program’s assistant coordinator Jeff Holt emphasized that the campaign intended to praise UCSD men.

    “”We’re trying to get the message out there that there are misperceptions among the males and females and to actually tell the guys that they’re doing a good job,”” Holt said.

    The program is unique because it is one of the few positive campaigns geared specifically toward men, according to Holt. In addition, its organizers have made many efforts to get feedback from campus to figure out what is effective. Plans are underway to clarify confusion over the existing posters.

    “”We’re already trying to correct those,”” Holt said. “”I wouldn’t look at it like we’re replacing the posters, because we were already planning on putting different ones up to add to the campaign, making little changes on the way.””

    If students are still unclear about the campaign or its message they are encouraged to contact Student Safety Awareness.

    The program began last fall after UCSD received a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Wahlig said UCSD is currently the only university in the country funded by such a grant. The current program will serve as an example for other schools interested in student safety programs.

    Wahlig said students should realize that the program is new and improvements will be made.

    “”It’s only a two-year grant, so the idea would be that we try this, get some good data, and share it with other campuses and see if it could be replicated and possibly write another proposal,”” Wahlig said.

    Other aspects of the campaign include men-only workshops where presenters and participants can engage in discussions about sex- and relationship-related issues. Also, a “”Campus Factoids”” campaign is being piloted at John Muir College to allow students to engage in a discussion about sex and rape prevention.

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