Like the six hundred other first-year students who flocked to the Hill in late August, we were eager to make a difference on campus and get involved, two desires that every student on this campus possesses and sets them apart as Denisonians. We thought one of the best ways to get involved on campus was through Denison’s student governing body, the DCGA.
As we set out to campaign for election, we sought a campaign strategy that would make us different and memorable. As the staff editorial in The Denisonian, “A vote against insensitivity” pointed out, we spun our “campaigns differently with posters that were overtly sexual and demeaning to women in their nature.”
While it was not our intention to offend the campus community and propagate rape culture, that was the effect our campaign posters had.
By placing our posters across campus, we were ignorant to Denison’s diversity. Not diversity in the sense that students hail from all across the globe, but rather diversity in the sense that every Denison student has a different background and a different history. While the posters seemed humorous to some and a good way to garner votes, they were terribly offensive to others, a fact that we were ignorant of at the time, but, in retrospect, see all too clearly.
Following the placement of our posters, we were notified by the DCGA of an offense report caused by the posters and were instructed to remove them immediately.
Following our immediate compliance, we have since met with several student leaders of the DCGA and members of the administration, and participated in a Restorative Justice circle with the intent of discussing the implications of our posters and educating us on rape culture.
We recognize the fact that we were likely not the first students to propagate rape culture on Denison’s campus, nor will we be the last. We hope, however, to curb this culture by working collaboratively with DCGA’s President Ana Morales to create a program that would instruct students interested in running for DCGA in the future on the rights and wrongs of campaigning.
We also will look to educate our fellow students on the dangers of misogyny and misandry in hopes of preventing them from making the same mistake that we did.
We are deeply sorry for the damage that our posters did to the campus community, as well as to the individuals that call Denison home. Our promise now is that we will do everything in our power to help make Denison University a safer and more enjoyable place to live, learn, and prosper.
Carter Moebius ‘17
Charles Reynolds ‘17
Henry Tran ‘17