Mandatory meeting causes outrage in students

Kristina Wyman's picture
Caroline Critelli

Dozens of student leaders flooded into Hagan Hall for a mandatory program called “Mercy Beyond Measure,” something that most students thought was going to be about healthy relationships. Unfortunately, for most students, this is not what they got. Instead, many of our student leaders were left feeling reasonably insulted and disrespected.

On the night of January 25, Joe Krans came to Assumption College to give a presentation on topics revolving around love and relationships. Some of this advice involved saving sex until marriage, making sure that you have God in your relationship and that girls are supposed to be princesses and guys are supposed to be princes. Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with this point of view. There are plenty of people who want to live there life like this, and that is totally okay.

The first five minutes of the presentation were fine, but then, things took a very quick and unexpected turn.

The most infamous moment to the night was Krans’ “giftbox” metaphor in which he ripped up a wrapped gift in order to show you what happens when you make “bad decisions.” Krans proceeded to explain how the destroyed, sad box is probably what a lot of the student leaders’ “boxes” looked like and the gasps that flew out of the audience’s mouths were unforgettable.

Another interesting point was when Krans proclaimed that 90 percent of men are predators and that 10 percent are not. And sure, there are plenty of people out there who don’t have your best interest at heart, but that statistic hardly sounds genuine, as there was no source to back up the claim.

The whole thing came across as if girls needed to find the guy who is going to protect her, like women can’t do that all by themselves. One interesting note is that he didn’t seem to acknowledge that the LGBTQ+ community existed, which in this case is probably for the better, but it still shows how many different viewpoints and lifestyles were left out of the presentation.

“It was an aggressive forcing of a certain belief on the student body, nevertheless student leaders, in a misogynistic and outright offensive manner,” said David Allen.

One thing that people might think is the fact that Assumption is a Catholic institution, and you have to expect to have people show up and tell you to save sex for marriage. But the thing is, that’s not the Assumption College that anyone knows. Assumption has always come across as a place that, while being completely Catholic, still wanted students to be whoever they wanted to be and that anyone of any religion, gender and sexual orientation could walk onto campus and not feel like they need to be something that they’re not.

That’s simply not what happened during this presentation, and there are plenty of students who were extremely upset as a result of the talk. But it really wasn’t the material itself that got everyone upset; it was more the way it was presented.

“His core ideas were very insightful and something that I feel most people could get on board with but he didn’t communicate effectively,” said sophomore Jaime Brodeur.

It’s obvious that the talk was meant for a specific audience and, in this case, it was given to the wrong one. If the talk hadn’t been mandatory and was instead open for all students, who wanted to attend, then the night wouldn’t have gone the way it did.

“I think the administration should’ve found a speaker who has spoken to college students at a college level about God’s mercy,” said John McBride. “It was something that would’ve been great for a Catholic high school retreat, but for a college campus it was missing something.”

That being said, the topic of love and healthy relationships isn’t an easy one to give a presentation on, especially if you’re going to bring religion into it, and it’s a topic that comes with many different viewpoints. There were obvious things that were missing that were instead replaced with offensive metaphors that were all set at the wrong tone. It ended up not being a talk on healthy relationships, but instead about one specific type of relationship that, while completely legitimate, isn’t the answer for everyone.

“I think if the format incorporated more interactive discussion, students may have had a better reaction,” stated Woodbrooks.

Everyone should get to live life however they want to. If you want to save sex for marriage and openly have God in your life, that’s your choice. If you want to be an atheist and go to parties, that’s also your choice. If you have a way of life that you love and that works really well for you, still your choice.

Being told what to do with your life is not healthy.

“We have received the attendees’ feedback and will certainly rely on them strongly when planning future events. We love our students and respect their opinions and thoughts on the events that we do,” said Dean of Campus Life Conway Campbell.

While students were extremely upset, it is clear that the entire thing was a very good intention gone horribly wrong and, hopefully, students’ voices will be heard.

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