An additional convocation on gender issues will confront topics ranging from sexual assault to Goshen Dating on Monday, Nov. 3. An evening panel and discussion will follow the event that evening.
“There have been a lot of unhealthy forms of discussion of these issues,” Ammon Allen-Doucot, a junior, said
“We’re trying to provide an opportunity for the campus to handle it.”
He mentioned a number of forums where discussion has taken place, including The Record and the infamous Yik Yak app.
The event is being organized Neal Friesen, assistant director of residence life; Eva Lapp, a senior; Stefan Baumgartner, a senior; Elizabeth Franks-North, a junior; Prashansa Dickson, a junior; Malcom Stovall, a sophomore; Dominique Chew, a senior; and Helena Neufeld, a sophomore; and Allen-Doucot.
The idea for the convocation came to Friesen in late September. Chew said that he was looking for ways to engage on the topic of gender issues, but had struggled to find a forum to do so. He proposed a convocation, and this group of students came together to make it happen.
“I’m aware that there are a lot of men [who support this issue] on this campus, but there haven’t been terribly many opportunities for them to speak out,” Chew said. “I think this is going to be helpful and empowering to some of the male voices… who care about these things and want to help, but aren’t sure how.”
The convocation, which will take place in the CC Fellowship Hall, will include several speakers as well as discussion at randomized table groups. The focus will be on definitions (for example, of gender, privilege and feminism) and the background of gender issues.
Students will meet at 9:45 p.m. the same day in the 3rd floor connector, for a discussion on gender issues as they apply specifically to the Goshen College community.
An evening event on the same day allows time for “processing and bringing your own questions to the table,” Allen-Doucot said.
Baumgartner added that this structure makes it easier for students to engage the issue than the formal convocation setting.
According to Chew, the convocation setting does has several advantages. The convocation credit available means students who might not otherwise attend such an event are more likely to make time in their schedules.
“It’s a wider net,” Allen-Doucot said, explaining that it’s important for everyone on campus to be exposed to gender issues. “This is an opportunity for our students to grow.”
The students organizing the event have high hopes for the outcome.
Baumgartner said it is important to “be equipped to have healthy conversations regarding gender and power and privilege.”
Allen-Doucot said that he hopes students can “play a more active role on campus in solving some of the problems that spawned the discussion in the first place.”
The convocation will not be on Wednesday, but Monday, like convocations in previous years. “The real convo time,” Chew said.