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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-20-24 PDF
February 20, 2024
2-12-24 PDF
February 12, 2024

Open Letter in Response to “Mr and Mrs UMass Boston, Really?”

Participants+and+organizers+of+the+event
Participants and organizers of the event

 

 

While Enactus has been working with individuals both supportive and disapproving of the Mr. and Mrs. UMass Boston event, we thought it would be appropriate to follow up one last time with The Mass Media. We would like to go over some complaints directed at us in an Op/Ed piece from the March 26- April 9 issue, submitted anonymously, titled “Mr and Mrs UMass Boston, Really?”

As mentioned, we did not intend for this event to offend a single soul. We set out, as we always do, to create an inclusive environment for people from any and all walks of life. Student life at UMass Boston is dominated by separate groups repeatedly hosting events for the same crowds of students. While these events encourage campus involvement, there is a clear divide.

When we plan our events, we try to target as many students and demographics as possible. We consider the majors, colleges, and number of years in school of the UMass Boston population.  

Those are the things we look at, not whether someone identifies as black, queer, Asian  or alien. Those things are only relevant when we let them disrupt our lives. If we were to practice this equality we are so quick to argue for, there wouldn’t have to be public conversations battering a group of students who, at the very least, strive to unite as many individuals as possible.  

Enactus as a whole is deeply hurt. We feel terrible that our actions were viewed as offensive to proponents of marriage equality, the LGBT community, and women on campus.

That being said, there were a lot of factual errors in the article. While covering each of them would take some time, we would like to respond to some of them here. The Op/Ed article claims the event used “a panel of seven judges, six of whom were male, and one of whom was the Dean of Students.” We in fact had only three judges, two of whom were male.  

While we plan to change the “Mrs.” to “Ms.” or “Miss” in the future, the article claimed that “no mainstream pageants used the title ‘Mrs.’ in their advertising or events.” This is untrue. Upon research of joint-gendered contests like ours, “Mrs.” is the most common title. However, we did not foresee the offense this would cause.

Also, we are aware that “Mercy” by Kanye West came on. We are deeply sorry that the offensive lyrics were played over the speakers. We tried hard to keep our music clean and respectful.  

We were using Pandora (and what we thought was a “clean” playlist) for this event because of technical difficulties with our iTunes playlist. However, we are all college students, and that is the music we are subjected to constantly. No one wrote an Op/Ed slamming Ice-T for saying unspeakable things on stage in front of a crowd arguably seven times larger merely a week before. The song played at our event for less than one minute. We turned it off as soon as we realized it was not an edited or clean version.

The Op/Ed went further, asking,“Why was the admission fee not announced? Enactus did not put the $5 admission fee in either the flyer or the Facebook event page.” We made a mistake and completely left it out of the flyer. To rectify this mistake, we posted the price all over the Facebook event page. We also tabled for weeks prior to the contest, and our contestants sold their own tickets as well, accounting for the majority of our sales.

We have personally reached out to the Queer Student Center and are working to arrange an open dialogue about how to plan a more gender-neutral event in the future. Anonymous complaints will get us nowhere. In life we can complain as much as we want, but none of our complaints matter unless we are willing to step up like strong individuals and do something about it.  

Action should take place face to face, not in print. Real change happens on the ground, not in the words on the page. We can read about theories to combat heteronormative behavior, but how can we enact change without open, educational conversations? 

 

 

 

Feel free to contact any of the six chief officers of Enactus UMass Boston via email addresses below.  

Jared Ward: [email protected]

Janine Brown: [email protected]

Frana Burtness-Adams: [email protected]

Junior Peña: [email protected]

Kylie Bowen: [email protected]

Tyler McCloud: [email protected]