A statement from ASUP about the 2018 Wally Awards

By ASUP Executive Board | April 16, 2018 10:56pm

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The ASUP Executive Board from left to right: Vice President John Akers; President Brandon Rivera; Communications Director Mario Sarich; Campus Program Board Director Jacque Nelson; Director of Finance Hannah Baade; Speaker of the Senate Alex Peterson

Last night, a University of Portland student athlete opened the University's annual athletics award banquet, the Wally awards, with a diatribe filled with vile misogynistic comments. His words were unacceptable. His words are a stain on our University and our fellow students. Not only were these remarks incredibly offensive, but they also came at a time when just last week there were efforts around campus to spark conversation and education through a Sexual Assault Week of Awareness. Last week the students of this University showed where their values lie. Last night, those values and the mission of our University were undermined. In line with Green Dot, our University’s anti-violence initiative, everyone who live, learn, and work on this bluff are committed to a community free of power-based personal violence. 

As the Associated Students of the University of Portland, we reaffirm that it is our responsibility to create a community where respect, integrity, and open-mindedness are promoted. We are collectively committed to creating a campus culture where this respect and integrity is shown to all students. The offensive, disrespectful, and dehumanizing statements exchanged at the Wally's awards are in no way indicative of the culture and community environment that ASUP seeks to foster. Rather, we are proponents of our University values.

Looking forward, it is apparent that we as a University have an arduous road ahead when it comes to conversations of misogyny, rape culture, and sexism. We ask that students, faculty, staff, and administrators continue to educate themselves and others on these topics. But we also must hold ourselves accountable: ensuring and creating a community of safety and acceptance starts with every single one of us.

Having the courage to do the right thing, to stand up for yourself, for your peers, and for your community in situations similar to what happened last night, is difficult. It is all too easy to watch, to critique, to say how shocked we were. We too often look toward our leaders—toward the top—for direction, but in moments like last night, the responsibility to do what is right and just lies with each and every one of us. It is our duty to stand up; it is our duty to make our voice heard. To create the inclusive and respectful environment that we strive for as a University, we must first develop the instinct to recognize that we, as a community, expect so much more.

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