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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Snack Bar Harassment

<turday, January 26 I was working the register at the Snack Bar while the Bat Mitzvah Sayles dance was in full swing. The usual crowd of the drunk and the drunker paraded through, as they are wont to do during Sayles dances, and they made me a little uncomfortable, as they are also wont to do what with their inhibited ability to order and to locate their Onecards. However, no matter how uncomfortable these influenced individuals have made me in the past, I have never felt threatened by any of them. I have never been afraid of someone here at Carleton, that is, until last Saturday.

On this occasion, a student wearing a blue and white striped polo shirt, clearly intoxicated, came up to one of the full time Snack Bar workers and started berating her. He repeatedly demanded that she make food for him, shouted sexist comments at her, and refused to leave her alone after she repeatedly told him no. His misogynistic demeanor coupled with his drunken, agitated state made me both angry and afraid for her and for myself.

He eventually left after the worker walked away from him. A little while later though a friend of his came up, apparently in an attempt to apologize, and said to the full time worker, “Sorry about that, but that shit was fucking funny.” I could not believe my ears. Funny? What was funny about her having been verbally assaulted? When I expressed this sentiment to the friend and informed him that his friend’s actions had made us feel angry and afraid he seemed both surprised and nonchalant. “Oh sorry, he’s really drunk. I did talk to him about it though,” the friend replied. You talked to him? Did you tell him how sexist and offensive his comments were? How they intimidated and upset the women he was talking to? Or did you tell him that it was probably a bad move but then pat him on the back and laugh about how “fucking funny” it was?

This incident shocked and appalled me. Carls, I respect your right to drink and party and to be obnoxious, but when that drinking and partying and obnoxiousness turns into the belittling and berating of women, to getting in their faces and yelling “I want a sandwich and I want a woman to go in there and fix it for me,” it becomes a problem. A big problem. And when attempts are made to justify such actions or to label them as “funny,” it not only undermines the feelings of those involved, but also serves to undermine the seriousness of the actions and, in essence, makes them ok. You sir, in the blue and white polo, are offending and belittling women and your friend, in his endeavors to excuse your behavior, is propagating your actions. Being drunk is not an excuse for making people feel threatened and intimidated.

I will admit, because of these two individuals, I have lost some of my respect for Carleton as an institution. What kind of place is this where I spend Saturday afternoon writing a paper for my Women’s and Gender Studies course and Saturday night listening to a female coworker get verbally abused by one of my fellow students? I felt confident in my safety and integrity as a woman here at Carleton, but this confidence is now cracked and tainted as a result of this incident.

Man in the blue and white striped polo, I do not know your name. I do not know what year you are. I do not know if you even remember what happened, but what I do know is that on Saturday night you made me feel truly afraid for the first time here at Carleton.

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