Reed Voices Concerns over Nude Tradition

ASLC Discusses Future of RKSK Initiation with Member of Reed Honor Council

 

By John Rogers /// News Editor

 

 

On Nov. 6, the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark met with Lee Belcher, a member of Reed College’s Honor Council, to discuss the tradition of Reed students streaking on LC’s campus. Belcher was concerned about the event, the Reed Kommunal Shit Kollektiv, which involves Reed first-years jogging naked through LC’s campus chanting Communist slogans.

Belcher started the discussion after this year’s event, when, they said, “many Reedies very vocally questioned whether the event [was] respectful to everyone at LC, specifically victims of sexual assault.”

No specific incident or complaint prompted Belcher’s visit to the ASLC meeting. Rather, they said, “discussions of consent are becoming more and more pervasive on campus, so maybe it was a matter of time.”

According to Belcher, ASLC’s response was generally positive.

“One [ASLC member] who spoke on behalf of Lewis & Clark’s International students said that, while many International students enjoy the event, some of them are very opposed to seeing nudity,”  Belcher said. “She suggested that we give more advanced warning so that students can avoid the streaking.”

Other senators said that Reed students should not streak through Watzek Library, and voiced concern about LC students filming or taking pictures of the event, noting that some  participants are underage.

LC is no stranger to nudity on campus. Since the spring of 1998, LC has held an annual Naked Mile. Last year, Devin Hoover (’15) organized last year’s run and is currently planning the next, which will be held on Apr. 12, 2015. He agreed that “avoiding dorms and the upper library would be a good idea” for the Reed streakers. The Naked Mile steers clear of buildings and dormitories. Still, problems arose.

In 2005, LC changed their Admitted Students day from a Saturday to a Sunday, the same Sunday that the Naked Mile was held. Although it was before Hoover’s time, he heard that those “organizing the events got some stern words from the administration.” Even last year, on a non-admitted students day, controversy arose after an angry mother allegedly threatened to sue over a Title IX offense. Unbeknownst to the runners, there was a children’s gymnastic event on campus that day.

Nudity is a sticky subject. With the growing acknowledgement of sexual harassment on college campuses, and school policy allowing nudity on campus, problems are bound to arise.

During the Nov. 6 ASLC meeting, President Lincoln Boyd (’15) said that “in recent years, there has been a growing backlash from the student body. I know that that might not be the majority. This could be one or two students. None the less, we have to abide by Title IX and make sure those students feel like they’re in a safe space at Lewis & Clark.”

 

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