The student-run and student-funded UCTV aired a comedy sketch show called Shenanigans. In one sketch a woman is running from a possible rapist and stops to use a campus blue-light phone to contact UConn’s 911 system. Instead of getting help she is met with insults and slurs like “stinky bitch” and “holler monkey.” The statements get worse, but you get the idea.
A spokesperson for the university is denying any accountability and told the Connecticut Post that students should contact the station, not the university, with complaints. “UCTV, like the Daily Campus newspaper, is funded by students and run by students, and they produce the programs and decide what goes on the air.”
Since initial complaints the station has removed the video and issued an apology, but students insist this is not enough. “We as UConn students pay mandatory fees for UCTV to be able to publish this crap,” an event notice on their Facebook page said. “If you don’t think violence against women is funny or sexy than please join us.”
As you can see, the comments on the Facebook page also show just how far women and their allies have to go to counteract rape culture on college campuses.
There is real value in an independent media presence on college campuses that has no ties, nor is answerable to, university administration, so I won’t fault administrators per se for not jumping into this mess. But the producers, writers and actors who thought making a joke out of sexual assault was good material? Maybe they should start thinking of another line of work.
Photo from Helga Weber via flickr