“Tired of White Cis Men?” Event Flier Has Garnered Backlash in National News and Social Media
By Katie Oglesby, Editor-in-Chief
A Peace and Justice Studies senior student originally had an event planned for Saturday in the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC). The posters hung for this event said, “Tired of white cis men? Come paint and write about it.” The poster also noted that the art created will be displayed in the College Union Building (CUB) Junction.
Spokesperson for the College Jamie Yates explained that the flyer was for a student project and was not endorsed by the College or Peace and Justice Studies. Yates said that while the GSRC was listed as the location, the Center was not hosting or sponsoring the event. Students can reserve the space on 25Live.
Yates said, “The faculty leaders of Peace and Justice Studies have asked the student to reflect on their objectives and restructure their project accordingly. The event is no longer taking place as scheduled or as originally constructed and the flyers have been removed. The faculty have also directed the student to our Freedom of Expression Philosophy and to the guidelines for posting flyers advertising events on campus.”
Quickly after the flyers turned up, students began not only talking about it on local social media like YikYak, but in the comment section of a viral Instagram post on an account called “oldrowofficial.” This account has over two million followers. They posted a picture of the poster with the caption “Sent in from Gettysburg College. Imagine the outrage if this was about any other group.”
The account did not blur or remove the email of the student holding the event. The post received over 11,000 likes. Some comments on the post even advocate for spamming the student with emails and signing them up for mailing lists.
A student originally involved in the project, who wishes to remain anonymous, said, “Another member created the title [for the project] and since then, I’ve decided not to be a part of the project anymore because I do not agree with it at all. It is creating a greater division between people and forming an ‘us’ against ‘them’ mindset.”
The student explained that the project was originally planned with the intent to reflect on events on campus this semester.
“The goal of the project was for students who were directly or indirectly affected by events on campus this semester such as the car driving by making…noises targeted towards Black students, the invitation of a transphobic and homophobic speaker to campus by YAF, and most recently, the nonconsensual recording in SAE’s bathroom, to somewhat heal and express how they’ve felt,” the student said.
The student explained that there was going to be a showing in Junction of the works at the end of the month so that people could understand “that there were people deeply hurt and affected by these instances.”
“We wanted to create a safe space for people to discuss, paint, and write about their own personal experiences and how these tragic events have made them feel. Afterwards, we wanted to have a debriefing for students to discuss how to move forward after these issues and prevent them from happening in the future through educating others,” the student said. “This event was supposed to be welcoming to all members of the college community because we knew everyone had some type of opinion about it.”
Yates said, “In any community of our size, there will be a wide range of views. That creates a fertile educational environment, but it also means that there will be occasions where views expressed are controversial. That is inherent in the freedom we give to our students to find themselves and to express themselves.”
The student organizer for the project has not yet responded to a request for comment.
The Interim Program Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program declined to comment.