Boston University has been struggling to tackle many recent cases of sexual misconduct on its campus, including rape allegations. In a positive move to address these issues, the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism at Boston University has tried to start a rape crisis center (if anyone has updates on its current status, please comment or email!).
With this environment in mind, the BU publication The Daily Free Press chose to make an April Fool’s joke at the expense of those students who have faced sexual assault. According to Jezebel, the lead story of the publication’s annual April Fool’s joke issue was “BROken egos: BU fraternity suspended for assaulting female student.” The article is available on Google Docs if you choose to read it.
A BU student wrote to Jezebel deriding the article as an unfortunate representation of BU and its student body:
“Considering the fact that BU’s student body has endured scandal after scandal after scandal, it was in completely poor taste. Not only is it bad PR for the University: it’s a slap in the face for everyone who’s been victimized this year. It was a poor editorial decision. The sad part is that BU is not a school that condones assault. This past weekend, men and women on our campus came back together for Take Back the Night, which was hugely inspiring and successful. The ladies and gentlemen I’ve met at Boston University are in general an awesomely respectful bunch.”
The Daily Free Press has taken the right path and issued an apology, with other statements of regret on their Twitter. The Press is not the first nor will it be the last media outlet to make a joke of sexual assault. It’s been done on TV shows, and a recent article from a McGill publication also featured a disturbing joke concerning Chris Brown’s physical assault on his then-girlfriend Rihanna. Unlike those examples, The Daily Free Press has apologized for its harmful language and it seems its editors have learned from their mistake. Hopefully in the future they will choose to help BU students fight against sexual assault, rather than maintain a campus environment conducive to sexual violence by making light of it.