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'No Means Yes' Sign On Campus Causes Scandal at Western University

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How many times must we say this: Rape. Isn't. Funny.

Students heading into their first week of classes at the University of Western Ontario in London were welcomed back to campus with a sign reading, "No means yes... Yes means anal." Yeah, we're livid. And what's worse is, this isn't the first time this phrase has been used on a college campus. In 2013, students at Saint Mary's sang, "U is for underage, N is for no consent" at an orientation event; in 2014, frat boys at Yale used the phrase from the window as a chant; in 2015, a frat's notebook making references to rape and lynching was discovered; that same year, a fraternity at Penn State was suspended when they were discovered posting photos of naked, passed out women to Facebook. Need us to go on?

The image from Western first went viral when it was posted to Facebook by Emma Richard, who came across the sign on her way home. “After standing, staring, taking a picture, I came home. My shock turned into rage, and my rage turned into awareness, and so I wept. I wept for everyone who has ever said 'no' only to have 'yes' heard, yes acted upon. I wept for those who never had a chance to say 'no' because someone else already decided the answer was 'yes,' or failed to even ask the question. I wept for those who will continue to suffer the consequences of a culture in which a household feels “No means yes” is an acceptable thing to write on their window,” she wrote—and we couldn't have put it better.

As Vice reports, the university tried to downplay the incident. Glenn Matthews, the school's housing mediation coordinator, told the London Free Press, "I get it: the message is really bad, but students do dumb things." 

So boys will be boys, basically. Hmm, where have we heard that before?

Jana Luker, Western's associate vice-provost of student experience, did damage control this week. "Western takes full responsibility for not responding to the incident adequately,” she said in a statement, according to the London Free Press. “The University is reviewing its response mechanisms in these kinds of serious situations and the current incident is being investigated by London Police, as well as Campus Police as a Code of Student Conduct violation."

We'll repeat this again: Rape. Isn't. Funny. So stop making jokes about it.


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