Oh, American University. You just make it too easy! Some days when I feel compelled to write, I have trouble finding a subject, much like how one has trouble finding marshmallows in a Whole Foods (they’re so elusive). On those days, all I must do is open my Gmail or log on to the trusty school newspaper website and BAM- inspiration!
Here’s what happened:
Four students were sexually assaulted while walking to campus. A “Caucasian male” ran up to them from behind, grabbed their “backsides” and “chests” and ran away. For a school that is, I think, attempting to raise awareness of issues of rape and sexual violence on campus, reporting these events to the student body was a step in the right direction. Moreover, I cannot even imagine how terrifying it must have been to have been the victim of these attacks, especially given the relatively short distance between the apartments and campus, which I think is a safe place to be at night. So, props to AU for alerting the student body.
The execution of said reporting to the student body, however, was disastrous. At 12:30 PM, we all received an email with the subject:
Really, AU Public Safety? “Forcible Fondling?” Of all of the ways to describe the attacks, you choose an alliterative phrase that makes use of the word “fondling?” This instantly transformed their well-intentioned email into a joke around campus. Everyone is reacting to the email, sure, but not because it describes a rather scary trend, but because it uses the phrase “forcible fondling.” Even “tasteless touching” would have been better! Or “Jarring Jabbings.” I am fairly sure that “Forcible Fondling” is the title of a Lifetime movie about a mother who beats up the guys at school who are making passes at her daughter. In fact, I am almost positive such a movie exists. Sending us this email only served to make light of the incidents. Try again, Public Safety.
This reminds me of a similar incident last year when the student body at large received another email that could only be described as “insufferably stupid.” This email came from a certain “Rosie McSweeney,” a name that can only be described as “insufferably stupid.”
Any email with the subject “Please read this” that begins, “many of you may not know me” is bound to be a gem. The email went on to, very vaguely and ineffectually, condemn people for smoking pot in the dorms. Basically, people did not give two shits about the message of the email, which again, was well-intentioned, because IT WAS FREAKING CREEPY and from a woman named McSweeney.
Seriously, AU, the next time something serious happens on campus, warranting an email to all students, please run it by someone who is capable of rational thought before emailing the next big AU joke to everyone. I volunteer.
“Forcible Fondlings” airs this Friday at 9pm/8 central on Lifetime. Your life, your time, Lifetime.