A personal request to support Zen Men

I would like to ask that you bear with me while I briefly retell the story of Zen Men.

Just two years ago I wasn’t really doing much more than study and work odd jobs. I eventually transferred from Georgia State U to Kennesaw State U (KSU), where I started KSU Men (now Zen Men). That was just a little over a year ago. It was just me and a GOPRO a kind soul from afar lent to me to make sure I had some sort of protection. The fact I needed protection to speak tells us why men’s rights activism is necessary.

Enough students signed a petition to support KSU Men, and a student-predominated board unanimously voted to approve it as a student organization on November 6th, 2013. Since then, KSU Men has caught national attention. Media inquiries came in from Mother Jones, PJ TV, GQ Magazine, CL Atlanta and KSU Student Media. Tumblrs tumbled and little birdies tweeted. Students and faculty from Fordham Lincoln Center, George Washington State University, New Mexico Tech, New York University, Queens University and more ended up sending me emails just to ask how they can start their own groups.

We, with the help of NCFM, AVfM, the Honey Badgers, A Voice for Male Students, Jeanne Falla and a community of supporters, held an openly non-feminist conference for issues affecting male students. Leaders in the movement such as Jonathan Taylor, Paul Elam, Karen Straughen and Janice Fiamengo graciously took time to explain why school was becoming a hostile place for boys and men. Feminists attended and were welcome to participate in the dialogue, and I yielded much of my Q&A time to a co-president of YESBody!, who apologized for ideological corruption on camera.

KSU Men became a repeat front-page subject in KSU Student Media, and the articles about us have sparked more conversation on campus than any other article. We have funneled many boxes of food and bags of clothing into the KSU C.A.R.E. center to assist homeless or financially struggling students, both male and female.

And just as a side note, one of my favorite things about this organization is that whenever we set up a table, people surround it and talk for hours.

Zen Men VP Bobby Nibbs (right) and Secretary Stacy Evans (third from right) conversing with prospective members outside the cafeteria

We were so successful, so fast, that feminist professors from the Interdisciplinary Studies Department immediately moved to hurt me. They took away my friends, academic references and told lies in lectures. I could not even meet any of them to ask a single question, because my ability to speak to them has been restricted by attorneys. The professors preaching peace, love and equality stated that I wanted to kill women after citing an early 2013 homemade instructional video where I demonstrated safe, clandestine posting practices on a public university.

Students and faculty started a blog called Menformation specifically to oppose me and Paul Elam. Even when I donated to a campus protest organized by YESBody! to support their free speech in spite of my disagreements, my contribution was called a “bullying tactic,” and I had to ask the same feminists who later apologized to use the money. Members of their organization later lectured me on my “privilege.”

Despite all efforts, the KSU legal division does not even seem willing to acknowledge how I have been targeted, and even today I have no assurances of my Title IX right to a safe environment despite the clear and present risk of vigilante retaliation. I have to record everything I do to make sure I have an alibi in case someone decided to punch herself and say I did it, or in case someone decides to sneak up on me.

A clear warning sign that there are sharks in the water emerged in Brian Clyne, now former president of Atheists United. Brian challenged me to a debate, only to start a personal vendetta when nothing went his way. He tried everything from violating our debate terms, attempting a public character assassination, reporting me to the cops, trying (and thankfully failing) to publish the home addresses of my friends, and then announcing that he is going to try becoming the new president of Zen Men. He is still on campus, and he will do whatever he can to win.

Despite finding new foes, KSU Men gained a full new officer team as it turned one year old.

We slumped in our seats, trying to process the unbelievable fact that this was all just one year.

Just. One. Year.

We are one of the most successful men’s rights ventures on a University campus, ever. There is just no questioning that.

But the straight truth is that we need help to keep this up. It used to be that if there was not enough money to pay for operations, my personal finances would pick up the slack.

I can’t do that anymore. One month without your support, and it would be impossible to keep up with my tuition payments, let alone feed myself.

No one else in Zen Men is willing to take my position due to concerns for their own safety, and I must be at least a part-time student to be eligible for an officer position in my own organization. This means that even if I wanted to take a break, I can’t.

Every promise we were able to make was gleefully kept. I ask for your support today because that’s what keeps this ship afloat.

We have less than ten days left in our fundraiser, and we are only about 20% to our goal at the time of this writing. I understand if times are tough, because I experience that struggle every day even without men’s rights advocacy. I may even have to face that struggle for years after if the claims made by professors on this campus follow me to job interviews.

Our job at Zen Men has been to challenge the corruption that make times tough for your sons. We knew that we would be good at identifying where the problem lies because many of us here are your sons!

We, your sons, are sick and tired of people telling us how to think, how to live, and how to express our very selves as young men who deserve fun, rewarding careers and a love of life. And we, your daughters, are tired of being coddled and emotionally-manipulated into distrusting half of the human race and hating our own lives.

Zen Men marketing director Haley working with Vice President Bobby at a Zen Men display
Zen Men marketing director Haley working with Vice President Bobby at a Zen Men display

Life is nothing like what it was two years ago. Every morning I drive to a place where many would laugh and cheer if I was knocked down, beaten, or humiliated. All of those crazy people you all look at on the Internet? Some of them are here, and they have physical access to us. But this is also a place where a growing number of students are starting to notice that Zen Men needs to be here.

All I ask is that you help me not risk going broke taking all of this on with my new friends, who also put their time and effort into keeping this alive.

We are a system that is slowly integrating with campus. We have been meeting with administrators about the development of a men’s center. The idea is on its way up the chain of command, which means we have a chance at securing space in a new building to get suicidal or battered men the help they need to heal!

I do not want to have to slash expenses and therefore Zen Men’s capacity during this vital time.

We are all in too deep to give up, so I am asking you now, as we reach the final few days of our fundraiser, to please consider sacrificing one morning’s coffee to your sons and the daughters who love them and love themselves.

Please click the donate button below to help us retake our lives from the ideologues who won’t allow us to be happy.

Goal progress: $7,110 out of $10,000

Click here to donate to Zen Men and bring men's rights to Kennesaw State University!

NOTICE: Dannyboy has offered to shave down his beard if the fundraiser reaches its goal by the 30th! He is also willing to grow it even longer, depending on popular demand. Video proof will be provided.

SNAIL MAIL: If you wish to submit a contribution by snail mail, use the KSU address below. Be sure to put both my name and the organization name so the school employees know where to file the envelope.

Sage Gerard
Zen Men
Room 274 MD0501
395 Cobb Ave NW,
Kennesaw GA, 30144

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