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Yesterday afternoon, President Fr. Mark Poorman announced a long list of initiatives and policy changes on diversity, inclusion and Title IX in his annual convocation speech to faculty and staff.
Poorman directly referenced the Wally awards controversy from last spring in his speech, saying the incident and the conversations that followed “strengthened our commitment to constant education of ourselves and improvement.”
The Wallys were not an isolated incident. The Wallys were a tipping point in a kettle that was already about ready to boil over. In my time at UP I knew many courageous young women who were affected in some way by the inaction of UPs administration. Being able to look at what happened and simply say “we can all do better” is a privilege.
Reflecting has been an exercise I’ve found myself doing quite frequently these past few weeks, as I’ve followed the articles and opinion pieces in response to the Wally Awards event on campus. After everything that’s been said, I still support Fr. Poorman, the administration, the staff, the students and the University of Portland.
What does it mean that all the major decisions for our university are made by white men? It means that the speech at the Wallys was not a blip or an outlier.
It means that when Poorman sat and did nothing as a student made women feel unsafe, it felt reminiscent of the lack of effort and the ignorance towards sexual violence that Poorman has perpetuated during his presidency. The inaction was not an isolated incident, it reflects what Poorman values as a president.
As a female immigrant I find Mr Sundaram's apology weak & lacking insight! He humiliates all immigrants and females by trying to rationalize his remarks and not acknowledging that he has missed the essence of his Catholic Education!
What happened at the Wallys was a complete shock for most of our campus community. Many people are angry, and rightfully so!
On April 15th, the fifth annual Wally Awards made waves not just on campus, but throughout the nation. The Wally's have not always been marred by controversy, however. In fact, the history behind the annual athletics banquet is one of fun and laughter for athletes and the Athletic Department.
Dan McGinty was the emcee for the inaugural Wally Awards in 2014.
Kevin Baker was the emcee for the Wally's last year.
The Wally Awards controversy continues to spark discussion about not just the event itself, but larger issues of misogyny, rape culture and sexism. Some of the more intimate conversations are taking place in residence life communities across the University of Portland campus, some of which have organized events to bring residents together to share feelings about the incident and discuss how to move forward.
In response, residence life communities on campus have begun to offer initial support through discussions among residents, resident assistants, hall directors, assistant hall directors and many other parts of the dorm communities. The result of Sundaram’s speech has led students to expand the issue from discussing it to implementing change within the dorms.
We write in response to the Wally awards incident, as reported by student-athlete and Beacon reporter Olivia Sanchez. As faculty members who believe in the stated mission of the university to teach the heart and the hands as well as the mind, we are in complete solidarity with the students who are appalled and outraged by the inflammatory rhetoric used by the event’s emcee.
I would first like to thank Olivia Sanchez for telling her story in her opinion publication. It was very brave, and it encourages people to let their voices be heard when they feel unsafe or injustice happens. I want to acknowledge that Goutham's Sundaram's "inappropriate" words "cannot be defended," as he has stated in his apology. Sanchez's voice is an important one and there are many other voices to consider, such as my own.
Both men and women's soccer teams have released statements responding to the Wally Awards Sunday night, during which the emcee gave an offensive speech that marred the event for many attendees.
University of Portland Women's and Men's Soccer teams take stand amidst Wallys controversy.
Members of the University of Portland community nearly filled Buckley Center Auditorium on Thursday night for the event Reaffirming Pilot Values: Assessing Rape Culture, Sexism, and Misogyny. The student-led event, hosted by Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA), Service and Justice coordinators (SJCs) and the Feminist Discussion group, was announced Wednesday morning in response to the controversial speech made at the fifth annual Wally Awards Sunday night.
University President Fr. Mark Poorman was in attendance as well as other UP priests, faculty and staff, including new women’s soccer coach Michele French. Women made up an overwhelming majority of the audience. French and rowing head coach Pasha Spencer were the only coaches or athletics administrators to attend. Although, Vice President for Athletics Scott Leykam has been out of town since before the Sunday event, caring for a terminally ill family member.
With a title like Service and Justice Coordinator, it should not come as a surprise that behavior such as at Sunday night's Wally Awards both disappoints and frustrates us.
From recent events, we as a community have been broken, hurt, violated, and objectified. At the Wallys, a student emcee made comments and jokes that entailed misogynistic, oppressive, prejudiced, internally racist, and sexually abusive ideals.
Several on-campus groups will host an event on Thursday night in response to the incident at the Wally Awards. Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA), Service and Justice Coordinators, Feminist Discussion Group (FDG) and other groups are organizing “Reaffirming Pilot Values: Assessing Rape Culture, Sexism, and Misogyny.”
SASA President Abby Sherman explained that the groups felt the need to hold the talk in order to facilitate a wider campus dialogue by and for students. Instead of focusing on the events of Sunday night, Sherman said, the groups want to foster a larger community conversation about misogyny and rape culture at UP and beyond.
UP students have organized an event in response to the Wally Awards uproar called "Reaffirming Pilot Values."
My name is Rebecca Howard and I’m a grad student on the cross country and track and field teams at the University of Portland. The annual Wally Awards was held on Sunday April 15th to recognize and celebrate the athletic success of the 14 sports teams here at UP, and has remained the topic of every conversation I have had since.