Student Video Sparks Controversy at the University of Connecticut

Many students on the campus of the University of Connecticut are upset over the airing of a video on the student-run television station. The video, part of a series called Shenanigans, shows a young woman being pursued by a man. The woman, who fears she will be raped, accesses the university’s “Blue Light” emergency call box system in an attempt to get help. The voices on the other end of the system call the woman derogatory names such as “stinky bitch” and “dumb blond bitch” and complain about women “always crying about being raped.”

For readers who want to see the video, it can be viewed here. We warn readers that they may consider the content highly offensive.

The station management responded to criticism by posting the following on its website:

“In accordance with our mission, UCTV strives to serve as an open medium for UConn students to come to us and produce content without censorship. We apologize for any frustration or harm the respective video clip has caused and all of us here at UCTV have learned from this event.” They vowed to review their broadcast policies “to see whether there is more we can do in the future to prevent a similar situation from occurring again.”

The video, which first aired in November, was pulled off the UConn television station this week. But the video was uploaded to YouTube, apparently by the people who produced it. An explanation accompanying the video reads: “The intent of this video was not to make any comments on rape or rape culture, but rather to be absurdist in order to satirize the fact that the blue light system seems as if it would be futile in preventing a crime that was imminent. Clearly we did a poor job of getting this point across and we would like to apologize for this miscommunication, it was truly not our intent to bring this much attention to such a delicate issue. The cast of Shenanigans does not think that rape is funny nor do we condone the spreading of rape culture.”

A protest meeting, attended by 100 students, was held at the Women’s Center on campus. In a statement, Susan Herbst, president of the University of Connecticut said, “I haven’t seen the video, but it’s always important to foster a culture of respect and understanding on a college campus. When something crosses a line between just being plain old bad taste to something that is deeply offensive, it’s important that students speak up and talk about it.”

Filed Under: Sexual Assault/Harassment


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