The Orion

GSEC Responds to ‘Myths’

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Photo courtesy of GSEC

Photo courtesy of GSEC

Photo courtesy of GSEC

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In a Feb. 17 article, columnist Roberto Fonseca asserted: “Let a person speak. Let their garbage ideas show how much of an idiot they actually are.” This statement strikes an unfortunate resemblance to his May 10 opinion column: “Debunking GSEC Myths.” This article is shameful writing at best, and at worst, it’s false, disingenuous and malicious. Fonseca’s words have incited pain upon many people, both on and off campus, and he and “The Orion” must take responsibility for the ramifications.

We are not writing to refute Fonseca’s statistics with more statistics. The ideas he expressed about the nonexistence of rape culture, systemic racism, and multiple gender identities are simply not true—irrefutable evidence is easily discoverable online, backed by a plethora of reputable sources.

Instead, we want to redirect the focus and assert the truth: the AS Gender & Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC) is a student-led organization dedicated to empowering and educating all students, while centering the voices of those most affected by systemic violence and oppression.

Since 1971, originally as the AS Women’s Center and later as GSEC, we have worked tirelessly to provide a safe space for all students while staying true to our values of diversity, equity and inclusion. We welcome anyone who wishes to join the movement to promote gender and racial equity, or dismantle oppression of any kind, to visit and talk with us.

GSEC is made up of passionate students that aim to empower the campus community through awareness-raising events and a supportive environment. We have an open-door policy for any student in need of resources or a safe place to find community and healing. We do not intend to restrict free speech, but rather to foster a sense of learning and respect for many lived truths.

As a center, we provide students with free and affordable sexual and menstrual health supplies and are a free referral service for anyone needing support regarding sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexuality and gender-based care, among other related areas.

We are not so naive as to believe we have never made mistakes, and we understand some people feel intimidated by our center’s presence. That unfortunately comes with the nature of our work—we are constantly learning and striving to reach out to the campus community in new ways, but we won’t reach everyone—until folks give us a chance by stepping into our office or attending a GSEC event.

Everyone has been taught a variety of ideas growing up, influenced by their hometowns, family, and peers. The GSEC exists to challenge the societal norms that are traditionally used to oppress and marginalize. That can be a difficult unlearning process for everyone, but it can and should be done.

With that in mind, we intend to hold “The Orion” to higher standards than it currently demonstrates. As a fellow student-run organization, we expect more of “The Orion.” We demand that it strives to embody the values of Chico State: those that foster a safe learning environment for students from all intersecting identities and experiences.

Students charged with the responsibility of reporting on their campus community should be expected to undergo adequate training in reporting ethically and fairly. Just because Fonseca’s work was published in an opinion column does not mean it is not subject to the principles and values of quality journalism for which “The Orion” was once known.

We strongly urge the journalism department to make “Public Affairs Reporting” (JOUR 321) a prerequisite for participation in “The Orion.” A class that covers the: “development of greater skills in story recognition and judgment, information gathering… including specialized reporting and ethics,” is sorely needed.

We think this prerequisite could be a step in the right direction for restoring the trust that many students, faculty, and staff have lost in “The Orion” in recent years due to a pattern of irresponsible and inaccurate reporting.

Words, language, and stories like Fonseca’s have the capacity to incite violence, prevent survivors from reporting their sexual assaults, and create an unwelcoming environment—the opposite of the Chico State community we know and love. It’s not too late to do the right thing.

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12 Comments

12 Responses to “GSEC Responds to ‘Myths’”

  1. Kia on May 17th, 2017 5:17 pm

    Yes. Thank to The GSEC for speaking up against the nonsense. Clearly the Orion allows anyone to write anything (which sucks because I expect more for college students.. I guess we should blame chico state for allowing anyone into their university.. yes I’m talking about you Roberto) Haven’t read a good article like this in the Orion in a while.

  2. Skyla on May 17th, 2017 5:57 pm

    Great piece GSEC! Thank you for all you do! I know I can speak for many of us when I say, we stand behind you!

  3. Chet Youbetchya on May 18th, 2017 9:51 am

    This was a well measured response by you all. I agree with everything you said. One critique – if sources are so readily available to refute Roberto, just post them. Every argument I’ve seen against him in comment sections refuses to link anywhere. If it’s so easy – DO IT! Telling someone to “research themselves” is totally inviting people to be suspect of your claims.

    For example, the word gender has been used to describe a spectrum of cultural and societal behaviors since the 70s, in antrho journals and the like. Why not just link to one as tell the world “Look! We aren’t just making this up out of thin air!” You get the idea.

    Not sure how to provide a source that racism exists, lol. Just look out the window, Robert.

    Much love!

  4. Chet Youbetchya on May 18th, 2017 9:52 am

    This was a well measured response by you all. I agree with everything you said. One critique – if sources are so readily available to refute Roberto, just post them. Every argument I’ve seen against him in comment sections refuses to link anywhere. If it’s so easy – DO IT! Telling someone to “research themselves” is totally inviting people to be suspect of your claims.

    For example, the word gender has been used to describe a spectrum of cultural and societal behaviors since the 70s, in antrho journals and the like. Why not just link to one as tell the world “Look! We aren’t just making this up out of thin air!” You get the idea.

    Not sure how to provide a source that racism exists, lol. Just look out the window, Robert.

    Much love!

  5. Jeremy on May 18th, 2017 4:50 pm

    Thank you GSEC!

  6. basedwildcat on May 19th, 2017 5:58 am

    College has become a joke if students can’t openly debate and spread ideas. GSEC and safe spaces have only weakened conversation on campus.

  7. Erika Chalker on May 19th, 2017 11:52 am

    Thank you so much for countering that despicable article. There is nothing wrong with expressing opinion, but it only crosses the line when facts are misused and made to be opinions. That’s what the article did and the words are more dangerous than beneficial. I stand behind you all for this noble cause.

  8. Brice on May 19th, 2017 4:16 pm

    A classy response to an incendiary piece that was simply wrong in so many ways.

    Freedom of speech is great but anyone claiming to be legitimate news should only publish pieces it feels it can fully back up with citations or sources – even if they can’t reveal their sources.

  9. Meagan on May 20th, 2017 3:25 pm

    One thing that stands out to me about this response is the choice to not refute his claims with statistics. What I like about this is that there wasn’t anything to refute. The columnist did not make a compelling argument. He did not reference any serious studies or academic research about sexuality or gender, or systemic racism. The burden of proof is on the person making the claim, and his links went to websites that I could not tell I had any reason to trust. They were filled with ads and inflammatory remarks, the exact kind of source that all of our professors tell us not to use for academic research.

    My main issue with that column wasn’t just the rhetoric he was espousing, but the lack of academic rigor. One can argue with various theories about sexuality and gender and race. We (as an academic community) do not have it all figured out. There is a lot of debate out there about many things. But I would like to know if that columnist knows how to use the Meriam Library search engine to research academic articles. He claimed that there are no scientific journals proving that there are more than two genders. This comment struck me as inane, both because “journals” don’t prove theories. Journals are the repository of a variety of articles and publlished studies which give evidence to various theories – they don’t prove or disprove, but rather lend evidence or detract. And there are many, countless articles available through the Meriam Library database on academic research and theories of gender and sexuality. I would like to see Roberto try to defend his argument with actual academic research.

  10. Maximus300 on June 12th, 2017 2:20 pm

    It appears to me that the reason you decided not to “refute Fonseca’s statistics with more statistics” is because you can’t. Isn’t it terrible when you can not back up your assertions with facts. The bottom line is you do not like the fact that you were successfully called out and your positions destroyed with demonstrable truths unlike your “opinions”. No one diminishes the impact that physical violence has on its victims. To the extent the center provides support and services to counter these impacts, more power to them. However, screaming untruths (i.e. propaganda) from the roof tops on the basis that you believe it is more effective at promoting attention to the main issue is both morally wrong and demonstrably undercuts the perception at large about the seriousness with which the issue should be taken. As far as Briggsy Boo goes, she should take a course on how to debate someone she disagrees with. Her profanity laced tirades against the student op-ed writer betray nothing less than her inability to marshal facts and logic to support her positions.

  11. Roger on June 16th, 2017 2:53 am

    The statement, “Words, language, and stories like Fonseca’s have the capacity to incite violence, prevent survivors from reporting their sexual assaults, and create an unwelcoming environment”, is untenable. Words are neutral. The interpretation of words are the purview of the reader. Hence, to make such a statement only demonstrates the continuing lack of understanding of the spoken language. Words do not kill, words do not incite violence or prevent survivors from reporting their sexual assaults and create an unwelcoming environment, it is the interpretation, action and choice of the reader the leading force ending in execution of such an action. If staff at GSEC are offended, perhaps is because there is some truth behind it.

  12. Cheap Nectarines on July 7th, 2017 7:05 pm

    It sounds like you are shaming him for writing an opinion you disagreed with.
    Just because he used different statistics from what you choose yo use does not invalidate his valid points and opinions. His article was not unethical.

    “Words, language, and stories like Fonseca’s have the capacity to incite violence, prevent survivors from reporting their sexual assaults, and create an unwelcoming environment—the opposite of the Chico State community we know and love. It’s not too late to do the right thing.”

    So does portraying straight white men as the origin of all evil. Stop trying to vilify people based on race or gender and perhaps they won’t be so hostile to your ideas.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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GSEC Responds to ‘Myths’