Why I'm in RASAN

Non-Williams readers: RASAN = Rape and Sexual Assault Network, a campus hotline and group that supports studentsand promotes consent in hooking up.

For a while, I was the only male who showed up to RASAN meetings, making me the "man of the year" on our hotline calling schedule. I sometimes rationalized reasons for my presence - that being there would raise my credibility when helping friends after uncomfortable hookups, that I was honoring a friend who was going through a rough time, or the rather favorable gender balance in the room vis a vis dating.

Let's unpack that last one for a moment. I rationalized my participation in a group that primarily deals with helping women after bad experiences (some of which constitute rape/sexual assault, and some of which don't) by claiming a desire to use my status in RASAN to hookup with my fellow hotline members. The problem is that none of the above are true: I've never crushed on any of the wonderful ladies in RASAN, though many of them have my highest respect (ES, ES, MK, BB, CS, BN, etc.; y'all know who you are), but I still felt like I had to pretend I was interested in someone in order to "defend" my RASAN membership.

I also am not in RASAN in order to gain credibility with friends, or to honor someone else not on campus. I'm in RASAN because of a moment that happened when I was around 16. I was talking with a group of guys I knew outside of school, and one was talking about his life at a nearby Catholic School. He talked about walking around in the halls during crowded class changes, and how he would take his hand and reach down and under a girl to grab her as she walked by, honest-to-God sexual assault that he could get away with because of the crowded, moving hall. The other guys in the group laughed and approved, though I could tell some of them weren't completely comfortable, but no one challenged him that it wasn't cool to "grab p****" in his high school's hallway. I didn't challenge him; I just kept quiet about his comment since I didn't want to cause drama.

That single comment and its reaction are why I joined RASAN. The stories I heard at Take Back the Night are why I will always support such groups. the admiration I have for women I KNOW to have shared their stories with a group of partial strangers is boundless, and I am now convinced that I know many, many more people who have been assaulted. Joining RASAN is how I can be their ally, even as I walk around ignorant of their stories.

It also means that I care about posts like this one, and will do my best to change male norms, even as I'd bet that people who know I'm in RASAN might alter their language around me. You should consider joining as well.

Choosing Courses for the Last Time

It's hard.

I want to take about 10 different ones, but 2 of my 4 are already filled slots. I think the last ones will go to MATH and CSCI, but if I go with a SOC or ARAB course instead of the CSCI then my schedule is more symmetrical.

Why do such trivialities matter? I've learned that the MoE of expected course benefits is huge, and its better to structure a strong schedule than to sacrifice that in favor of marginally better sounding classes that might easily not be so.

Oh, and there's a tutorial as well.