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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.
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.
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.
“Used for minutes, but here for centuries.”
This phrase can be read on the signs around campus and in Bon Appetit eateries at University of Portland, as plastic straws have been replaced with paper straws in all campus restaurants at UP as of Wednesday.
Bon Appetit General Manager Kirk Mustain said that he worked with the Environmental Studies Department, including Department Chair Dr. Steve Kolmes, on this decision.
New and used art, furniture, clothes and other miscellaneous items will be scattered outside of the Chiles Center. On Friday, April 20, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the University of Portland’s first Pilot Market, Students can pay a visit to the booths of Guilder Cafe, Branching Threads, Imperfect Produce and College Ecology Club while meandering through the market. KDUP College Radio will be managing the DJ booth during the event.
My name is Brent Knutzen. I am a senior here at the University of Portland and a member of the Men’s Cross Country and Track team. As an attendee of the Wally awards, I felt compelled to write in and share my experience, and to both explain and apologize for my reaction to the night’s events.
To the University of Portland community:
I am profoundly sorry for my opening monologue at the Wally’s. The words I spoke and the language I used cannot be defended in anyway. The following apology along with my steadfast commitment to better myself are the words and promises the UP community deserves from me.
As a UP alum and young woman, I was extremely dismayed to hear of the events that took place at the athletic department's Wally Awards on April 15. Mr. Sundaram's disgusting attempts at humor were far from comical. His sexist words about women have absolutely no place at UP, and in fact, were scarily reminiscent of our current president's similar language on a secret Access Hollywood tape.
University of Portland President Fr. Mark Poorman apologized to students, parents, regents, faculty and staff Tuesday night, in response to accounts of a racially and sexually insensitive speech given during Sunday's Wally Awards. Poorman has been widely criticized for sitting in the front of the room and not intervening. Many said his initial statement did not go far enough.
There have been a lot of strong emotions after this Wally Awards ceremony Sunday night. I don’t want to take away from this response because we have a right to be angry, upset, and saddened about what happened. In fact, I am glad that so many people are angry, upset, and saddened by what happened Sunday night, because if we were okay with it, then we would have way more work to do. The problem is that when we get so angry at one person, we fail to see how our own actions have led to something like this happening. And that means we aren’t doing the work to make sure this never happens again.
This past weekend, I was excited to return to Portland. I had spent the weekend in Mobile, Alabama, as Assistant Coach of the UP Bioethics Bowl team and we were bringing home a 1st place National Championship trophy. The Bioethics Bowl team experience was one of my favorite parts of my experience at UP, and it has been an honor to coach the team this year and watch them compete via discussions that were often rooted in social justice, the recognition of social oppression, and moral sensitivity.
As a parent of a UP senior I have an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have read the articles and responses to the appalling remarks made by the emcee at the Wally awards.
As a former student at the University of Portland, OR, I’m ashamed to say that the few times it has landed in national news is because of a hateful, misogynistic speech at the Wally Awards – a yearly awards ceremony to celebrate the hard work that the University’s athletes had put it throughout the year. This year, however, it was tainted by the insensitive rhetoric given by the evening’s emcee, Goutham Sundaram.
By now we’ve all no doubt read the eloquent op-ed denouncing the misogynistic rant at this year’s Wally Awards. I was not there that evening, so I’d like to address the matter from a slightly different angle.
First let me say that I am in no defense of Goutham Sundara's speech, and I beg that the community does not label me as someone on a "side". I am a woman of color on the track team (yes, the school has a track team, even if the Wally's never recognized it), so this speech was the most offended I'd been in awhile. However, I am not writing this to talk about how it hurt me personally. I personally don't believe that Olivia Sanchez's opinion piece was a broad enough perspective to represent the evening, and especially not enough to enrage an entire campus, many of which, never even heard the speech they are so enraged about.
Like many current students, staff, parents of students and alumni, I was shocked and horrified as I read Olivia' Sanchez' brave and heart wrenching op-ed describing the so called entertainment of Goutham Sundaram. As I read her description of his hateful words, I felt the bitter taste of having those words also said about me, as my husband is Mexican.