Students, faculty and SHARPP representatives met Wednesday, April 26, to discuss the future of the battle against sexual harassment on campus, focusing around the anti-street harassment display in the Memorial Union Building (MUB) by SHARPP on March 17.
The display was taken down only two hours after it had been finished, due to claims by the administration that it violated the MUB’s anti-vulgarity rule on public displays.
After negotiations with the administration and Senior Vice Provost of Student Affairs Ted Kirkpatrick, the display was put up once again, this time featuring hand picked quotes by the administration that followed all established rules for acceptable display by the MUB.
However, the questions being asked in this meeting focused around finding the proper way to raise awareness about an issue on campus, and how to move forward from the censorship of the original display.
The original display featured speech bubbles with quotes supplied by students who were a part of an anonymous survey associated with the project.
These quotes were real life examples of street harassment directed towards the students who participated in the survey themselves.
“We are constantly in this environment where people are like, ‘this is what it sounds like at UNH,’” UNH student Hannah Hodges said. “You have to take [the quotes] out of that context so that we can talk about them.”
Jordyn Haime, the student and SHARPP community educator behind the project, stated that her goal was only to raise awareness surrounding the issue.
“It wasn’t supposed to be the huge controversial thing that it became,” Haime said.
To many students in attendance, they expressed that they felt that the only way to raise meaningful awareness about an issue was to create an emotional display that echoed the feelings of those impacted, which was the intended goal of the original display.
While the issue of censorship was certainly brought up, this meeting between faculty and students was largely used as a discussion about strategies for the future, and how they can create a meaningful impact in regards to this topic.
Jaime Nolan, the associate vice president for community, equity and diversity for the University and SHARPP Director Amy Culp were also both present for the meeting.
“What doesn’t get put up is also loud,” Nolan said, speaking about the need for discussion and awareness surrounding these issues. “Silence has so many different faces and sounds.”
The students at the meeting agreed, and it was stated that there needed to be more efforts made to communicate and educate both incoming and current students at the university.