The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is hosting a discussion group to help men “shift the culture of masculinity toward more non-violent norms.”
The UNC Men’s Project, which launched in 2013, will host a 10-week discussion group this semester to “increase men’s involvement in gender equity and violence prevention,” and examine how masculinity has "contributed to the perpetration of violence in our society.”
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“Men commit the vast majority of violence, yet the vast majority of men neither commit nor condone violence,” the project argues. “And many men and boys are subjected to some form of violence at the hands of other men. How do we confront this issue?”
Participants will be tasked with holding workshops and events about masculinity on campus, such as the Campus Coffee Conversations program, which has previously hosted talks on issues such as masculinity, privilege, microaggressions, and trigger warnings.
At the end of the 10-week program, students are asked to create an individual “follow on” project by becoming a Peer Educator on masculinity, creating a short documentary film, joining a “gender equity” group on campus, or “developing a plan to increase bystander intervention practices.”
The program, offered through the school’s “violence prevention” initiative, ultimately hopes to “promote a healthier, more equitable, and safer campus for all students, faculty, staff, and community members.”
While the UNC Men’s Project seems targeted for men, Jeni Cook, a UNC-Chapel Hill spokeswoman, maintained that the project “is one of the many resources available to all students, male and female, to participate in this effort.”
She noted, however, that UNC’s efforts “are not unique to Carolina” and that other schools have “similar projects that engage men as partners in gender equity and violence prevention efforts.”
Meanwhile, UNC isn’t the only school that attempts to draw a connection between violence and masculinity. The Women’s Center at Vassar College recently launched a new “Men and Masculinity” dinner program to “liberate” men from “toxic masculinity” through monthly discussions.
“We believe that we cannot truly change the experiences of women and queer and trans folx until we liberate the beliefs and behaviors of men,” the Women’s Center says, adding that it is committed to helping men “explore the many ways masculinity influences their lives.”
Neither Vassar nor UNC responded to Campus Reform’s requests for comment.