‘We Don’t Say’ campaign gains national attention
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Although multiple signs across Chico State say “We are one university,” the attempt to raise awareness about crude words that athletes and students use has signaled a major divide.
Chico State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee released a new campaign called “We Don’t Say” to spread awareness about the meaning behind some words. In the photographs, Chico State athletes are shown posing, next to them is a quote addressing the use of words and phrases like “spaz,” “retarded” or “man up.”
Some of the athletes photographed include junior guards for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, Jalen McFerren and Whitney Branham, as well as senior guard Sherise Porchia.
SAAC co-president Haley Kroll brought the idea up to the committee during the Spring of 2015. However, because of time constraints and an increased workload, the campaign wasn’t launched until this Fall.
“You Don’t Say” originally started as a collaboration between two student groups at Duke University in hopes to raise awareness about the use of offensive language. Unlike Chico State, the project was received with a positive attitude at Duke University.
According to associate director of athletics Mitch Cox, the point of the campaign was to not only raise awareness and get people thinking before they speak but to ultimately start a conversation.
Instead, a discussion of the campaign itself rather than the actual point of the campaign has been ignited.
As soon as the campaign was shared on the Chico State Athletics Facebook page, it was overwhelmed with negative responses. A majority of the negativity stemmed from people highlighting the idea that people are only offended because they’re overly sensitive.
Even multiple online news outlets quickly took interest in this campaign launch. The reach of the campaign has extended beyond just Chico State.
In an opinion piece for Fox News, columnist Todd Starnes was vehement about the oversensitive culture of society.
“Cal State Chico wants kids to know that golly gosh darn-it words and phrases can hurt people,” Starnes stated.
Although it has not entirely been positively received, Cox said that he thinks it has been taken out context and that people aren’t focusing on the point of the campaign.
“We knew there would be some push back,” Cox said. “But these are people that don’t know us, our school or our community.”
Senior forward for the Chico State men’s soccer team, Rajaee DeLane praised the campaign for the message that it sent but did not take part in it.
“Some people don’t think before they speak or consider how their words will affect other people,” DeLane said.
Although the campaign has received scrutiny, Chico State is continuing to hold firm by putting up posters and continuing to raise awareness about the words that its students are using.
Posters are already being displayed in the strength and conditioning room on campus and are going to be put in Kendall Hall in December.
Makayla Hopkins can be reached at [email protected] or @Makayla_Hopkins on Twitter.
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