When administrators, planners, PA coordinators and SMARTeam members involved in this weekend’s Genderfuck party — more than 10 people in total — met yesterday, they had much to discuss. The gathering, scheduled as a logistical review session for the party, had to cover a slew of safety precautions being taken to provide a safe atmosphere for the hundreds of expected attendees, from designated safe and dry spaces to coordinating the more than 40 volunteers from around campus who will drive the safety efforts.
Concerns about safety at past Genderfuck parties have led to this year’s thoroughly organized (and reviewed) safety plan. “Safety is definitely being stepped up,” MC Mazzochi ’12, one of the party organizers, said. “There is a history of sexual assault at Genderfuck. There is a history of physical fights at Genderfuck. These are our immediate concerns.”
One of the measures planned to combat violence is an escort program, which will provide two students, a man and a woman, to help revelers back to their dorms upon request. By press time, 21 members of the DU and Phi Psi fraternities had volunteered to be escorts alongside Not Yet Sisters, a group supporting an incipient Swarthmore sorority.
“The difference for me will be the escort program,” said Tom Elverson ’75, Alcohol Education and Intervention Specialist and advisor to DU and Phi Psi, who has been involved in the planning process. “We have ‘dry brothers’ who will be escorting people back to their rooms after the party, so if someone’s heavily intoxicated, they will know they have somebody to take them back to their home.”
A pair of Public Safety officers will also be patrolling the area outside of Sharples, securing the area and preventing people from sneaking into the party. The chances of this happening are somewhat higher this year, as the guest policy this year is more stringent, limiting the number of guests each student is allowed to bring to one. As in past years, only queer students from the Bi-Co will be granted entrance, with admission granted on the basis of trust.
Inside of Sharples, where the party will be held, another band of volunteers will form a sober ground control, which will patrol the party for misdemeanors and will be empowered to intervene. Ten party associates, their ranks multiplied five-fold from the usual two, will also be performing their usual duties, but they will receive special Genderfuck training alongside the sober volunteers.
“Each PA working at the event will have to attend a 45-minute training session hosted by the party hosts, the PA Coordinators, the DART team and the SMART team,” Ben Kapilow, a PA coordinator, said. Patricia Fischette, a post-graduate counseling fellow with the C.A.P.S. Services, contributed to the training, which will train volunteers to recognize sexual assault and step in.
Positive bystander interaction training, a technique that Dean of Students Liz Braun has discussed promoting in the wake of recent instances of hate speech, is also being taught at the trainings.
Much of the campus — from the women’s frisbee and rugby teams working as ground patrol to the escorts to the RAs, who have agreed to stay one sober per dorm — has added their support to the safety precautions, but there has been some resilience. A commenter on the Daily Gazette’s website suggested that the heightened measures would act as the “fun police” and reduce partiers’ enjoyment of the festivities.
In response, the party planners plan to stencil “Fun Police” onto ground control’s shirts. They emphasized that the volunteers will be there to defend agianst sexual assault, not get in the way of fun. “We want people to dance and enjoy the professional DJ,” said Mazzocchi. “We really want everyone to have a good time, just not have it at the expense of fellow students.”