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Join the conversation about campus culture

| Monday, October 5, 2015

I was reminiscing with some of my friends recently about our dorm party days. We laughed about how each dorm seemed to have its own style based on the layout of the rooms, but that really they were all the same: dark rooms with random colored lights, jungle juice spills and sticky floors, perfectly crafted playlists that always included Thriftshop and something from Taylor Swift’s “Red” album and the sweat. So much sweat. I still don’t know why we put up with all of the sweating.

For me, dorm parties were always a fun way to unwind after the end of a stressful week. I have fond memories of them and plenty of awkward stories that have resulted from them, but none stand out as being truly bad experiences. Although now that the issues of sexual assault and consent have become increasingly more transparent, I began to consider the possible role that dorm parties might play in them. I do remember going to parties where one guy would continue to feed me drinks until I assume I was deemed drunk enough for him to make a move. Though in my experience these dance-floor make outs were consensual, I wonder if that was always the case for my friends and peers. I remember leaving a party once and seeing a guy leading a stumbling girl back to his room. I want to assume that he was trying to take care of her and help her sober up while her friends enjoyed the party. I’m terrified that this wasn’t the case and that I didn’t do anything to stop something bad from happening.

Is the biggest problem with dorm parties really the sweat, then? Do dorm parties potentially lead to problems when it comes to understanding consent? Though I don’t believe that removing alcohol from the equation is the solution to ending sexual assault, how much does it contribute to the problem?

I think that this is an important conversation that needs to be had on this campus if we want to continue to address the issue of sexual assault at Notre Dame. It is definitely one that I wish my friends and I had had during our dorm party phase. Come to 136 DeBartolo Hall this Wednesday at 6:30 to begin this candid conversation about campus culture over Chipotle. I’ll see you there.

Allison Kerins
GRC Fire Starter

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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