Kennesaw State University (KSU) is a relatively small university in Northwest Georgia, U.S.A., roughly thirty miles north of downtown Atlanta. KSU has been over capacity for the better part of the seventeen short years it held university status. The bustling student population supports at least 226 formal organizations representing a wide range of different interests, and many more organizations not listed in the previous link. Despite KSU’s diversity, they consistently neglect the needs of men.
Let me show you how KSU treats its men and women.
About 60% of KSU’s students are female, and a number of opportunities offered by campus and state organizations are given exclusively to these young women. For example, the Georgia Executive Women’s Network offers a scholarship to women age 24 and up, and Women In Electronics offers supplementary funds that stack on existing financial aid to female students .
Campus organizations like Kennesaw Women in Mathematics (KWIM), promote the participation of women in mathematics. KSU and its student organizations have never hesitated in connecting women to opportunities from a plethora of programs. There is nothing wrong with offering opportunities to female students, but they are harder to justify when you compare the status of the KSU woman to the status of the KSU man.
There are scholarships, programs and courses available to all students, but women are the focus in promoting each. The most disturbing example is KSU Security’s Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) course. The KSU security department’s page for R.A.D. mentions that men are allowed to attend a men’s only R.A.D. course near the bottom.
Resisting Aggression with Defense for Men is a new program being offered this year, to address the many requests from our male population for basic self-defense options. RAD For Men (RFM’s) goal is to provide responsible information and tactical options of self-defense for men who find themselves in confrontational situations. For a male self-defense program to be an empowering experience it must contain a few key elements. These are: to educate men about their roles and responsibilities in reducing violence, to instill an understanding of reliance on others, to understand the responsibility and importance of making different decisions, and to obtain self-realization of the power of controlling one’s emotions.
Scroll back up to the first paragraph of the same page and you will see this.
Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) is a simple yet affective [sic] self-defense class for women only.
In addition, the periodic email blast for R.A.D. not only leaves out all mention of R.A.D. for Men, it also explicitly tells you only women may attend. The email shown below was sent to me on September 4th, 10:44 AM. firstname.lastname@example.org broadcasts a message to all students, assuming you are sending the message from an authorized address (If you try to send something there, it won’t work since you are not authorized to broadcast anything). This alias makes it easy to promote events.
10:44 AM is an odd time for automated system to send emails, so I suspect a human being typed this email. This means (s)he had a chance to see the hypocrisy of offering a unisex course while claiming that it is exclusively available to women.
Download the email source to see the original message for yourself. I removed my student email address from the source to preserve my dying anonymity for now.
AVFM member Eriu pointed out that an FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for KSU shows that only twelve rapes were reported on KSU from 1995 to 2010. From 1995-1999, not a single rape was reported . One rape was reported in 2000, and then we drop again to no rapes for 2001 and 2002.
The R.A.D. course was founded in 2002.
At time of founding, one rape report was all they had to demonstrate need. The highest number of rape reports totaled a whopping 4 in 2009 . R.A.D. cannot feasibly take credit for the low numbers, since even prevented rapes would be reported by frightened, would-be victims.
When R.A.D. for Men was introduced, KSU Security Officer Trudi Vaughan had this to say about what the course offers in the Sentinel (the campus paper):
“It doesn’t insult or diminish your ability to be a man if you walk away,” Vaughan said.
RAD for men was developed from the Rape Aggression Defense for women, a course offered by KSU PD since 2002.
“It focuses a lot on what your responsibilities are as a man,” Vaughan said. “When women say ‘no,’ it doesn’t mean ‘no until you talk me into it’; it means no.”
The RAD for men mission statement is “To provide responsible information and tactical options of self-defense for men who find themselves in confrontational situations.”
Men are offered “tactical options for self-defense” such as walking away from violent confrontation after being reminded that “no means no.”
R.A.D. simulates a live attack on students executed by the “R.A.D. Man.” The R.A.D. Man can be played by either a man or a woman (where the woman is still informally called the R.A.D. Man in promos). If you look at the email, you will see that women are expected to inflict injury and pain. In the Sentinel, men are encouraged to not fight back, and are given a reminder to not rape.
Outside of security, the KSU Gender and Women’s Studies department offers a masculinity course (see GWST 3080) with required readings including Michael Kimmel’s Guyland. The original course proposal has a red flag on page 3:
The course will be regularly evaluated through the ongoing assessment of the gender and women’s studies program faculty according to university guidelines.
Students are regularly evaluated by the people who endorse Kimmel and the kind of environment KSU provides. Women are the focus for numerous campus benefits, and even a unisex service for preventing a traumatic event is marketed to women alone. Men are not considered important enough to communicate with, even though some programs have become unisex in response to male demand.
Men have silently fought for representation, only to have it reluctantly granted with a gynocentric twist.
Facts are facts. KSU plays favorites.
Haphazard Support for Men
On February 20th this year, I attended the first meeting of The Gentlemen’s Club (TGC), a self-described “safe haven” for men founded by two KSU counselors. I was impressed and excited about the group after hearing about the philosophy of its founders, but started to back away when I learned of its policies.
The founders, Dr. Faust and Dr. Griggs, claim to follow the methods of Dr. Miles Groth. After the first meeting, the group sounded too good to be true. Quote Dr. Faust at 1:02:15 of the first meeting:
[We will be] a group of guys who will get together and talk about real issues that we face everyday. We can’t do it out there. There’s people out there who don’t understand. They humiliate us. They talk about us. They embarrass us. That will never happen in this particular safe environment. [I want to] create an environment where people can be themselves. That’s all we’re asking for. It’s not complicated!
I reacted positively, and the doctors asked me to help recruit new members. I offered the doctors a chance to talk to the staff at A Voice For Men (AVFM) for exposure. The doctors declared AVFM “militant” and backed away from it. They declined me the opportunity to record our second meeting, so I cannot prove what they told me next. I must therefore simply ask you to take my word for what I learned. All members had to sign a contract giving the doctors consent to monitor intermember communication.
When I questioned TGC’s founders about their invasive policies, they responded with a bitter psychoanalysis of my outlook on society and how men fit in the grand scheme of things. Dr. Faust said that there are broken men that needed to be “fixed,” and he never clarified what that meant. My take is that many men are just fine the way they are, but need a place to be themselves without carrying the burden of unwarranted guilt and bottled up emotions.
I thought that TGC was the sanctuary men deserved, but I was wrong. TGC was meant to be a group therapy session where the members were not allowed to socialize with one another outside of the group. Unsurprisingly, Dr. Groth was confused by this approach when I emailed him to ask about it. It is safe to say that TGC does not follow Groth’s methods as closely as it first claimed.
My suspicions were correct: TGC was too good to be true. But I must say through gritted teeth that TGC was the best thing for men I could find on campus. A full log of my relationship with TGC can be found on MarZ.
Kennesaw State University is a school where men are struggling for relevance. KSU enforces anti-discrimination policies just enough for men to get representation, so long as it’s all for the grace of women.
KSU does not respond to men’s issues with violence or resentment. Instead, KSU greets men with tense silence followed by reluctance, a small cookie reward and some PR hand-waving, in that order. Once KSU feels like men are satisfied enough to shut up, the benefits KSU and its student-run subsidiaries just that second gave to men are reoriented to focus on women.
It would be wrong to say that no one on KSU cares about men. There are signs of life in the student body showing interest in men’s issues, but these people always come second to gynocentrism. R.A.D. as it exists today demonstrates exactly what KSU is willing to let their own police department get away with.
Would you attend Kennesaw State University?