College campuses across the United States and Canada are at a crossroads with how they deal with underrepresented voices and allowing free speech. Instead of focusing on ways to protect political speech, campuses are pouring their resources into extinguishing “toxic masculinity,” in which men exhibit traits of misogyny, homophobia, and violence, especially towards women.
A job posting on Inside Higher Ed careers describes how Princeton University is trying to combat toxic masculinity with the position of the Interpersonal Violence Clinician and Men’s Engagement Manager. In addition to providing “short-term clinical interventions and victim advocacy,” they “serve as the prevention specialist focused on mentoring and engaging men.”
The manager is also tasked with “develop[ing] and implement[ing] men’s programming initiatives geared toward enhancing awareness and challenging gender stereotypes, increasing the community’s understanding of interpersonal violence dynamics, and reducing behaviors that lead to both perpetration and victimization.”
In an email to the College Fix, Princeton defended their efforts to squash this type of masculinity, writing, “Princeton’s program is similar to programs at other colleges and universities and is consistent with established best practices that encourage both men and women to create and foster a culture in which there is no place for interpersonal violence and where safe and healthy interpersonal relationships are the norm.”
Princeton isn’t the only university to take this approach. At the University of Regina in Canada, students and administrators held a four-day event in which men could enter a “confession booth” to confess their “sin” of “hypermasculinity.”
Duke University held a nine-week safe space program in which students discussed “examine[d] the ways we present—or don’t present—our masculinities, so we can better understand how masculinity exists on our campus—often in toxic ways—and begin the work of unlearning violence.”
While it’s certainly helpful to teach men and women how to act around each other that doesn’t result in violence and sexual assault, universities seem to prioritize campus safety for one reason while completely ignoring campus safety for those with different political viewpoints.