F Safe Space Shirts Embarrassing for Individuals, Not Carleton

By: Moojan Haidari

Frosh doesn’t have a stamp of 100 per cent customer satisfaction guarantee on it.

It can be a great experience for some who are ready to rock it out with their peers and get pumped up by their overly excited frosh facilitators, and for others it can be a very average experience.

But this year it was an unfortunate welcome for many new Carleton students. A university that upholds a safe campus space, where posters of ‘dignity’, ‘equality’ and ‘respect’ are plastered around the popular areas of the school, the campus was in a precarious situation after a few students decided to contradict those values.

I can’t seem to fathom why people would wear shirts suggesting that sexual harassment is acceptable. We live in a society that vilifies and stigmatizes those who condone or commit sexual harassment.

So the question is, why would the individuals (both male and female) wear shirts that give such a connotation?

Some have argued the inappropriate wording is in protest of a university rule prohibiting swearing during frosh, and others argue it’s directed towards rape culture and homophobia. I think it’s common knowledge that students swear. But putting inappropriate wording on a shirt that could suggest many things is not the smartest move. Regardless of whether there was malicious intent or if it was just something snazzy to put on a shirt, the social media world has spoken.

Now this got me thinking about the pre-production phase of the shirt. Did no one consider that this could be taken the wrong way? Did no one stop to think that anyone could snap a picture of them wearing an inappropriate shirt and post it in the fast-paced social media world where it could be scrutinized inside and out?

It’s upsetting to see people attacking Carleton as a whole for this action. After several sexual harassment cases at Carleton, the campus evidently condones these actions. This is clear through all the ‘consent is sexy’ pins that seem to be everywhere and many other pins and posters that condemn rape culture.

I keep hearing about how this is freedom of expression, which I am all for, but frosh leaders are representing Carleton. The campus upholds certain values that are for the benefit of all people in order to create inclusivity. The ambiguity of the meaning of the shirt should not have gone unchecked by upper-year university students.

All in all, it’s quite unfortunate that the people who chose to make this bad decision attend Carleton. Serious issues such as rape culture need to be addressed, but hopefully things don’t blow out of proportion. It’s when it has reached an unbearable point that some people find ways to make it into a cheeky joke.

I’m sure if those individuals who wore the shirts could go back in time they would think before they wore it out in public. But there’s nothing more embarrassing than the image of the two boys looking happy-go-lucky with that shirt on. After so much backlash, it’s their safety I fear for the most.

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