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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Full Frontal at 8:30 pm

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“So many butts.” If you attended the fall ebony II recital you may have seen more of a show than originally expected when streakers visited the event.

This year there has been a push to announce when streaking will happen for those who feel uncomfortable or offended by the demonstration. Although this is not an official policy, it has brought the culture of streaking at Carleton up for discussion.

Announcing streakers creates a controversial dynamic as Ellie Schmidt ’14, a former part of the streaking community, points out that announcing streaking puts the responsibility on the viewers to choose to watch streakers instead of having it be a surprise experience.

Choosing implies a level of voyeurism that is not present in an unexpected streaking event and changes the dynamic of the experience, as streaking, in nature, seems to be about the surprise, according to Schmidt.

Should people be warned if they are about to see streaking or should the school community preserve the surprise of the event? Gunther Guntherson (names altered) ’17, a streaker said, “Part of the fun of streaking is not really knowing when it is going to happen.”

Guntherson said streaking is not a sexual act. Rather, it promotes body positivity. He said, “What I’ve kind of realized being here, through events like streaking and strip and flip, is that bodies can be non-sexual, and I think that that’s pretty cool and pretty liberating.”

Similarly, Schmidt said, “I feel like it’s tied up a lot in how I feel about body positivity. I feel more comfortable with my body when I am naked around other naked people because I kind of realize how weird human bodies are, and that there is no real ideal human body running around. It makes me feel better about myself.” Schmidt described streaking campus events as “kind of a celebration of what’s going on” and Thomas Hiura ’17 said, “A lot of my friends that have streaked think of it as very liberating.”

But some people feel unsafe around streakers, which has prompted a discussion about announcing streaking on campus. Ultimately, the intention of streaking and the impact of streaking are two separate experiences. Guntherson said, “You can make that argument about body positivity and bodies being not just sexual units and people can still feel offended.”

However, students who feel unsafe viewing streaking should feel supported to remain part of the debate and express their views. Hiura said, “I personally think people generally have the right to proclaim whether something has impeded on their emotional safety.” Schmidt expressed similar concerns: “If there is someone who feels like they are being harassed, that’s really sad, and I don’t want to be a person to do that to someone else.”

Mary Dunnnewold, the sexual misconduct investigator for Carleton points out the illegality of streaking. “What students need to know is that the Northfield police actually arrest and prosecute people for public nudity.” No known arrests have been made on the private property of Carleton campus.

The question of the motives of streaking and its place in the community came to light a few years ago when the infamous midnight breakfast streak happened, ending in a naked human pyramid in the LDC. Several students involved in the stunt got in trouble with the administration for “militant nudity.”

Dunnewold explained, “This campus is a workplace for a lot of people, and people don’t want to have nude people in their workplace”. Speaking specifically about the dining hall event, Dunnewold explained that “the people that work in the dining hall don’t want to see that, that’s their work environment, and they don’t want to see that in their work environment.”

Recent streakers expressed that creating formations or streaking dining halls was not their aim in streaking. Schmidt expressed her opinion explaining, “I always thought that if you’re moving quickly, which is the point of streaking, then you’re not being militant.”

Dunnewold said streaking is currently categorized as “an example of a kind of behavior that would violate our policy against sexual inappropriate conduct. We don’t use it as an example of sexual harassment because sexual harassment has to be severe and pervasive and a single instance of streaking does not rise to that level.”

Although streaking is not considered sexual harassment at Carleton, peer leaders, such as RAs, SWAS (etc.) caught streaking can be fired from their campus jobs.

This is a rule Thomas Hiura ‘17, a current RA in Cassat, supports: “If I were to run around naked as an RA and some of my residents saw me it would be a complicated and weird situation whenever I was trying to enforce rules or even at study breaks.”

Having streaking as a potential part of the sexual misconduct policy allows the school to follow through with complaints if a student’s streaking behavior becomes inappropriate or if a complaint is filed. Dunnewold said that “I don’t know of any case where anyone has ever brought a complaint against someone for streaking, and that’s not to say it would never happen.”

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