Student union demands bottom-up reform on campus

Illustration by Greta Burton

The newest student union is penetrating campus life down to its core.

The Bottom Student Union, or SUB, has formed to promote equality and sexual liberation. In its own words, SUB is “dedicated to destigmatizing bottoming by providing education and resources surrounding bottoming. We strive to build an inclusive community for bottoms of all races, genders, sexualities and abilities across campus.” Club president, Andreas Vega ’23 and vice president Moss Stern ’24 shared what SUB has planned for this semester.

The organization initially used the acronym BSU, but was met with heavy resistance from the Black Student Union, who has been using the acronym since 1990.

According to Vega, SUB’s top priority is recruitment. An official poll conducted by Lewis & Clark found that nearly 85% of LC students identify as bottoms, and there are suspicions that the other 15% are liars.

If the statistic is accurate, tops could be described as a metaphorical unicorn. They might in fact exist, but no one is sure where to find them. At the moment, the club has two members on their leadership board, and its weekly bottom support group meetings have approximately five to 10 attendees. Vega is primarily recruiting via posters, which he has posted around campus. They especially target areas where SOAN majors congregate.

Stern takes a more aggressive approach to recruitment.

“Everytime I see a freshman with a hickey, I walk up to them and ask if they wanna join SUB,” Stern said. “So far, I’ve been mocked pretty viciously, but that just proves exactly why we need a group like SUB.”

Once SUB has increased their visibility on campus, they hope to host a meet and greet event. Vega explained that “Being a bottom can be such an isolating experience, and knowing you’re not alone means a lot.”

Casey Chime ’24, a self-identified top, overheard this portion of the interview. Afterwards, she approached me and gave her opinion on the situation.

“This campus is chock-full of bottoms,” Chime said. “They’re literally not a minority. I don’t

understand why they need a union.” What Chime fails to recognize, according to Vega, is the decades of oppression that bottoms have faced. “That is a very typical response we encounter from tops,” Vega said. “The SUB traces its roots directly to Marxism and the need for the masses to rally against the power of the elite, those with decision-making power.” For many bottom rights activists, bottoming itself is considered a form of praxis.

A longer term goal of SUB is developing and implementing bottom sensitivity training for professors. Vega and Stern have observed that many professors are casually anti-bottom in their lectures or the reading they assign. Vega and Stern believe that this attitude comes not from hate or spite, but ignorance, which can be addressed through education. When I inquired further on what anti-bottomphobic training would look like, leadership admitted they did not have any concrete ideas yet, but stated that they “had started the Google doc.”

Starting a new club is not all fun and games. Controversy has already threatened to split the club in half. At the first meeting of the union’s support group, an attendee raised the question of who exactly the club is for. In the traditional sense, bottoming refers to gay men who recieve anal penetration. Should the club be limited exclusively to them? Or should the club take a broader approach, and allow in anyone who is more submissive in bed, or who, as Vega said “likes things put in their holes?”

On this issue, Vega stated “bottoming is specific to anal sex, and it’s kinda appropriative for other people — people who do sex other than anal — to use the term. This is a bottom student union, not a submissive student union. That would be a great thing to have on campus, but we shouldn’t conflate the two.”

Stern took the opposite position.

“I’m a big-tent bottom,” Stern said. “Bottoming is about more than what is in your rectum. It is just as much about what is outside of you than what is inside. It’s a culture. We all face the same discrimination, and we would all benefit from helping each other. I see no reason this club needs to limit its membership.”

I asked how the club planned on addressing this difference in opinion.

Was a schism possible? Should the campus prepare for a second Bottom Student Union? The consensus among leaders was no, there would not be a second branch.

“It’s honestly a miracle we were able to start a club by ourselves at all,” Vega stated.

“We’re bottoms,” Stern agreed. “We don’t get stuff done.”

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