I was first reluctant to write this for multiple reasons. But I would be doing myself and the JMU community a disservice by staying silent. This post has been a long time coming and I did not have the words till now. After the defacing of the Spirit Rock painted by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. in memory of a fallen member with “Trump 2016” AND JMU‘s “we have no reason to believe that the repainting of Spirit Rock was anything more than an expression of support for a political candidate” response, I had more than a few words about the passive and blatantly aggressive climate on campus. James Madison University is flawed.
James Madison is a predominately white institution that ignores marginalized issues. We have “diversity” campaigns that refer to diverse thinking instead of diverse inclusion. I am sure many will say, Oh, if you don’t like it here then LEAVE. Using exclusionary ideas, rhetoric and actions already push students to more inclusive schools and communities. Ignoring issues on our campus actually increases tension on campus. For our community to get better, we need to talk about the issues on our campus. If marginalized people leave, who will bring up these issues? If I have to sacrifice your comfort while talking about how students are excluded on campus, then I will gladly do it.
From my perspective, we need to address these problems on campus immediately:
- Campus Assault Response (CARE) needs an office. To combat rape culture, we need convenient resources for victims, survivors and secondary survivors. This should be high on our priority list before we give any other organization an office. According to the New York Times, “In four years of college, more than one-fourth of undergraduate women at a large group of leading universities said they had been sexually assaulted by force or when they were incapacitated.” Before anyone screams ITS FALSE REPORTING! Actually 2 percent of reported case are considered false reporting. Also, cisgender women are not the only ones effected by sexual assault. “Overall, three in four LGBT students reported experiencing sexual harassment.” Many intersections like men, people of color and people with disabilities experience sexual assault not just cisgender women. In order to challenge the culture we live in, we need a visible office for CARE.
- Title IX needs to be formulated for our student body. The Student Government Association (SGA) has worked hard to create proposed resolutions for administration. I agree with their suggestions below & SIGN THEIR PETITION HERE
- “Adapt Title IX training for student employees to include more gender inclusive language and provide interactive, and engaging training.”
- “Incorporate gender neutral and inclusive language in Madison Alerts.”
- “Uniformly educate all students about their Title IX rights and resources. We recommend the incorporation of the “8 Key Questions” and the “Madison Collaborative” to advance students’ understanding of how to approach such situations.”
- “Move the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX to a more visible location to students”
- “Promote the “Silent Witness” page on the JMU Police Department’s website and the LiveSafe app so that students know where they are able to report offenses anonymously. “
- “Increasing funding for all partners who participate in Title IX and sexual assault investigations so they have the appropriate staff to not only handle, but respond in a timely manner to such complaints.”
- People of color are not only for brochures. Incorporating people of color into the student and faculty population is important. Faculty carve out syllabi based on what they consider to be necessary and we need diverse perspective to educate our community. JMU strives to get a diverse number of students, but administration needs to realize that inclusion does not stop at admitting students and hiring faculty.
- Trans and non-binary people are students too. We need to eliminate this cisnormative concept in our community. In order accommodate them, gender neutral housing should be incorporated and gender neutral bathrooms need to be accessible. Caring for the psyche of students includes considering their basic human rights.
- JMU Administration is overpaid. The wage disparity between administration and faculty is ridiculous. Not-so-fun fact: Summer faculty basically receive minimum wage. Where are the funds going? Athletics? Just like any other JMU student, I somewhat like attending football games and leaving at halftime. But I cherish my education more than throwing streamers. Economically supporting our education with adequate instructors is vital. Also, I care about the well being of educators and their families. They are actively contributing to our education by providing skill sets, exemplifying ethics, and acting as mentors.
- Lastly, intersectionality is not a footnote. The student body, faculty and staff are not solely white, cisgender, and heterosexual. Diversity should not be used for federal funds. Marginalized voice actively contribute to this community, treat us like we do.
Let’s stop pretending. JMU is problematic. It is not Disney World.
38 thoughts on “JMU IS NOT DISNEY WORLD”
The Title IX stuff is 100% understandable, so is the CARE office on campus, I cannot see how someone would deny those claims. I do agree with your stance on gender-less bathrooms, there should be a single bathroom in every student dorm so that anyone could use it and feel comfortable.
As your points go on, I do not understand.
How can you promote diversity in a school?
Do you establish quotas based on race/gender/identity ?
If you are a cis-gendered white human being, would you intentionally give up your spot at JMU so that another human who is less privileged can have it?
As for overpaid, I see many instructors with high salaries. Those salaries are based on a competitive market based on their skill level. The higher skilled and more valued in the market, the higher they are paid. Directors are paid the most because they are the TOP of their “food-chain”. The highest skill.
“but administration needs to realize that inclusion does not stop at admitting students and hiring faculty”
How could the university be in charge of inclusion further? You ask and point out how these occurrences are, in your words, “problematic” but there are no solutions proposed.
For gender-less housing are concerned, should the University room individuals based on their identity?
1. Promoting diversity in a school is more than acknowledgement of differences in identities. A school has to recognize the problems and ask marginalized student what they need. Incorporating their experiences and knowledge cuts out assumptions.
2. Quotas are useful but marginalized people are more than their identities. They are academics too. Your question is honestly a tricky one because many people consider quotas (often referred to as affirmative action) to be useful for people of color. But in reality, white cisgender women benefit the most from affirmative action. There are instances where quotas work and instances where they do not. There is not point of having quotas if the university community does not support or accommodate students after enrollment.
3. There is an assumption in your question. Marginalized people are not taking a spot at JMU or any other institution from white, cisgender people. Marginalized students can receive admission on their own merit. Unpack this thought process more through research. Look into the school to prison pipeline.
4. Okay – instructor salaries are not based on “competitive market based on their skill level.” I have currently have awarding winning professors that receive less simply because of the department they are located in and value placed on their classes by the University. Also, top of the food chain does not mean highest skill set. Privilege can increase opportunity to reach “top of the food chain” status. Look at how many women in JMU’s administration. One – Dr. AJ Morey. You really think we do not have more women in administration because of a lack of skill set? Definitely not.
5. The university literally creates legislation and an environment for the JMU community. Everything I listed can be changed through careful consideration of marginalized people. There are plenty of proposed solutions. But how many people know about failed attempts with administration? Not many. It is not talked about because student activists do not want to be blackballed or labelled as troublemakers any further.
6. It is not gender-less housing. It is gender neutral housing. “Genderless” is an identity itself. Gender neutral simply means gender safe space. The university already rooms individuals based on their identity. With binary language, they pair women with women and men with men. For many, they do not see how this can effect trans and non-binary people. Being matched with an identity that you do not identify with misgenders the individuals. Gender neutral housing gives individuals the opportunity to choose a comfortable living arrangement without experiencing a constant reminder of marginalization in their own space.
Hopefully I answered all of your questions. I do not mind right now, but it is important to turn to outside sources for a foundation and ask marginalized people for clarity. Marginalized people should not have to explain their marginalization to others. If you want to know more, research it. There are reliable sources like Feministing, The Guardian, Everyday Feminism. You should start there.
I do have a few questions:
1. Why choose JMU for this article? I understand that you may have the most knowledge about JMU compared to other schools, but why not address the entire USA (or even Virginia) public college system while bringing in some of your more specific experience with JMU?
2. Can you explain further why you are not okay with the way instructors are compensated. Professors with more experience (who do more research, attend more conferences, get published, ie put in more time) get paid more than other professors. Adjunct professors get paid less because the University does not have a long term use for them and they are not expected to put in as much time. Certain programs are also funded differently. For example, the business school has some of the highest paid professors. They also have some of the wealthiest graduates who, in turn, donate more money to the business school, allowing for higher salaries for their professors. Another major, like Spanish (just an example), isn’t a large major, their graduates may not make as much money (or have a second major that was a bigger influence on their career). Less graduates and less wealthy graduates = less money for certain programs.
3. I am also confused about the logistics of gender neutral/gender safe housing. I am just thinking about how people would be assigned to the dorms, how this would be less marginalizing (a separate building is not really the most inclusive environment), etc? I agree that it would be intimidating for individuals who are not binary, but I am just trying to understand the general logistical thoughts behind gender neutral housing. Gender neutral and single bathrooms should definitely be a thing though.
1. I am a JMU student. You answered your own question. I evaluate the community I live in.
2. I answered this in my post and previous responses to comments above.
3. Confused about logistics of gender neutral housing? Refer to a search engine for a foundation and then ask questions based on your knowledge.
At one point you say, “Can you explain further why you are not okay with the way instructors are compensated?” It is not appropriate to ask someone to explain themselves as if I owe you an explanation. I (just like you) do not owe anyone an explanation on my opinions. I understand that you want to learn. But asking marginalized people to explain their oppression and experiences to you is not the best route for learning. Questions you asked me can be answered from various reliable sources. If you want to learn something, claim your education and pursue it yourself. Then ask questions, not demand an explanation of someone’s thought process because you disagree.
Also, a lot of your questions ask me why didn’t I include this or that. If I posted in consideration of what others wanted, then it would be a 15-part series of JMU is not Disney World.
Your responses are really defensive. When someone asks you for clarity or brings up a point that’s contrary to what you said, your first response seems to be “Go look it up dumbass. How could anyone possibly disagree with me, you must be an idiot.” Just saying.
Okay, I never insulted anyone’s intelligences, so that is an assumption on your part. There is a difference between asking for clarity and asking for knowledge and experiences. Actually if you read some of the earlier comments, I am being very patient and forthcoming with my knowledge and experiences. But I am not going to continue to be so open in sharing why I believe this or that especially if I already explained why. You and everyone else hold me to a higher standard, I am holding you all to a higher standard too. Looking at marginalized people as a primary source of information is problematic. They shouldn’t have to teach anyone how they are oppressed. Its easy to unload a whole bunch of questions on someone and say “teach me”, but that is a lazy way of learning. For example, if you want to learn about gender neutral bathrooms – look up the history, find out how many states/colleges have them, etc and THEN ask questions based on your own understanding. We have to claim our education by educating ourselves.
Did you ban comments on this website? Is that why mine is not being shown?
I’d love to hear more of your opinions and answers from my questions!
Educate me !! 🙂
Comments are NOT being deleted. ShoutOut requires comment approval prior to comments being posted. Approving comments keeps our community accountable for what they say. Believe it or not, many of our comments tend to be graphic and violent. Our bloggers have gotten threats, harassment and even been doxed. This is how we protect ourselves. So, be patient with us please. Each blogger has to personally approve comments as they come.
That is so sad. I’m so sorry.
You’re an incredible writer! Looking forward to reading more of your work.
Thank you! If you want to read more, you can click on my handle at the top
“eternallyfeminist” and all of my previous posts will pop up.
Such an ignorant dumbass pussy
If you have disagreement, then add to the discussion with intelligent critique instead of revealing your ignorance by resorting to name calling.
Good read. Just a couple things to put out there:
1) Men can be victims of sexual assault and rape as well. Men on this campus, just like every gender, need a strong support system as well.
And 2) I don’t like how I’ve been seeing people’s comments get deleted. I recommend letting everybody respond to them rather than just silence other opinions.
1. I would like to point out that we do not live in a heteronormative, cisnormative society. When I said LGBT+ individuals are sexually assuaulted, I meant it from an inclusive viewpoint. Men are not solely cisgender and heterosexual. Men also are a part of the LGBT+ community as well.
2. Comments are NOT being deleted. ShoutOut requires comment approval prior to comments being posted. Approving comments keeps our community accountable for what they say. Believe it or not, many of our comments tend to be graphic and violent. Our bloggers have gotten threats, harassment and even been doxed. This is how we protect ourselves. So, be patient with us. Each blogger has to personally approve comments as they come.
Really liked this article, but you sort of
ignored part of their statement – cis,
heterosexual men can get raped too! And patriarchal notions of manhood in society often lead to them feeling deep senses of shame and not seeking help. You still gloss over that in your response.
I did not mean to ignore patriarchal notions of manhood but I also did not want to portray sexual assaults on college campuses against women, LGBT+ and people of color (also intersectional identities between these identities) and sexual assault against cisgender, heterosexual men as an equal statistic. Heterosexual, cisgender men do face sexual assaults on college campuses. But their positions of power and privilege protects them for a lot of oppression as well. My comments surrounds CARE’s need for an office and the JMU community that needs it. I am not trying to exclude any identity, but I am also not trying to diminish the hardships and numbers that exemplify the problem.
1) Yes, that is correct. However, a male doesn’t have to be part of the LGBT+ community in order to be sexually assaulted. Every male can be sexually assaulted. Even men that are straight and cisgendered can be sexually assaulted.
2) Yikes, good luck.
Yes of course. But I am referencing specifically college campuses. Sexually assaults can happen to anyone. But sexual assault of women and LGBTQ+ folks is an epidemic on college campuses. All I am saying. I am NOT saying cisgender straight men cannot be sexually assaulted. But I am saying, their privilege and status in society tends to (but does not totally eliminate) exclude them from experiencing sexual assaults on a college campus.
Also, you should avoid put an “-ed” on cisgender or transgender. Being cisgender or transgender is what people are, not what they were.
I appreciate that you are engaging in this conversation with me. ShoutOut aims to discuss hard topics in a safe space online. This is the type of discussion we need on campus.
“But I am saying, their privilege and status in society tends to (but does not totally eliminate) exclude them from experiencing sexual assaults on a college campus.”
Men do suffer from sexual assault on college campuses, and there is no reason to make it seem like it’s not a big issue. Statements like this are silencing for males that have experienced sexual assault and want the word to get out that they are victims too. What is the point of pointing out that their “privilege and status” tends to “exclude them”? I don’t see a point in making this a divisive matter.
“One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.”These numbers are disproportionate and makes it a divisive issue. I am not silencing their voices but I am not going to pretend sexual assaults women face is statistically comparable to men. Yes as I say AGAIN, I never said men could not be sexually assaulted. Twist my words any way you like but, I am NOT saying men cannot be sexually assaulted. But we cannot pretend the sexual assaults against women and the LGBTQ+ community on college campuses is not an epidemic. But it is a divisive matter. The proportions make it a divisive issue. We have to address rape culture and how it influences our college campuses. Obviously, you disagree and that is fine but I will not change my opinion to make you comfortable or verify your beliefs.
the only thing I have to say is that faculty salaries come form tax payer dollars– ie JMU has nothing to do with them ( I’m not sure if that applies to administration either) but spending more on athletics has no effect on our faculty. yeah they for sure should be payed more
Yes, public university receive federal funds and state funds BUT due federal support is dwindling significantly. But there is a misconception. Federal and state government do not decide instructor salaries. If you think about how many public universities we have and number of instructors nationally, then you would see that is an impossible undertaking for government officials. JMU receives money and decides how they want to spend it. Whether you like it or not, the truth is athletics and faculty wages correlate heavily (there are faculty in athletics btw).
An epidemic that affects more of the school’s population is students who leave football games at halftime. Why does this happen at JMU? It happens when the game is close. It happens when the game is a blowout. This affects our home field advantage, it affects the entire gameday atmosphere, it affects recruiting, it affects alumni donations to the University, not just to athletics. Improve the student commitment & atmosphere on gameday and you’ll see more money coming into the University. Then there will be more money in the budget for these extra offices and programs you are fighting for.
Epidemic?!? Football attendance is not the problem. Football attendance is not the answer to extra offices and programs. But I would love to see the day that JMU uses football funds to supply CARE with an office. Oh, I can dream.
Look at Virginia Tech. The football program at Virginia Tech has played a huge role for why the school is as great as it is. This “dream” isn’t as far fetched as you think.
I would not say the school is great solely based on football. Football is football. There may be a culture surrounding it but that culture is also hypermasculine and exclusive. So if by great you mean its hypermasculine and reaffirms masculine stereotypes, then yes – it is definitely making a impact on VT (and schools alike).
I never said that football is what has made Virginia Tech so great. I said that it has contributed.
I think you have a personal bias against football. If people want to play football, attend their games, and be a part of that sport’s culture, why not let them? If certain men want to have these traits that “reaffirm masculine stereotypes”, why not let them? Yes, there is an unreasonable expectation in society for men to be a certain manner (and this issue is a huge might I add), but I do not believe we should stop men from behaving in this manner if they want to.
I do not have a personal bias. I am actually a football fan (Who DAT nation). But I will not ignore the flaws in sport culture. There is something wrong with the hypermasculine and gender roles in our culture. My statements are for people to behave however they want – within gender roles or outside gender roles. It is fine that you disagree but I am not going to change my view simply because you disagree with me.
I am very confused by this comment and how it would improve an inclusive, safe, and welcoming community for all identities on this campus besides just bring more revenue to the athletic department? Who would say that that extra money would actually go to these diversity improvements? I highly doubt that. Also, I am confused by equating the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses to the “epidemic” of people leaving football games early?
AMEN!!! Thank you so much for speaking out!!
Someone could have painted over the rock in a primary color, and it still would have been inappropriate, given that it was done in the middle of the night and just hours after the tribute had been painted. But then, the fact that it was painted over wit support of a known bigot? Ridiculous. Then the cherry on top- that JMU releases a bull-shit statement not recognizing this atrocity, and just trying to save face? I’ve never felt more ashamed to be a Duke.
So, to whomever frat that very clearly hazed their pledges to commit this act (my thesis), I hope you feel good about yourselves.
Thanks for reading and commenting! We love hearing feedback and creating a conversation.
Oh look, another geed making generalized comments about something they know nothing about. Nothing to see here.
Oh look another troll with nothing productive to contribute to a conversation. Nothing to see here.
As an alum, I want a way to help you and what I don’t have a sense of is how best to twist the administration’s arm. We are the checkbook they’re trying to get into, but when they ask us what’s important to us it’s forever surveys designed to shuttle us into saying stupid things like “Flowers for the quad” rather than “More money for faculty and less for administration”. You want this. Lots of us want this. I wonder if it would be possible to get access to the JMU alumni email mailing lists for activist purposes.
Cmon now do you really think a girl with the name eternally feminist is going to point out the negatives that a men man encounter? This whole we need one gender bathroom thing cmon this is just recently starting to become a huge movement give them some time and I’m sure they have a gender less shitter in every dorm
I very much admire your dedication to this blog and its message. I cannot imagine how difficult it must become to stay positive and on topic when you read the misinformed, aggressive, dismissive comments that seem to always be apart of these discussions. As the parent of a JMU student, thank you for taking a stance and saying the truth. Changes are hard won, keep up the good work!
Thanks for your comment on this post from 2016. Not sure how your perspective encourages dialogue or civil disagreement, however.