A tweet by a new 18 and older club in Bloomington is drawing backlash for what some say is supporting rape culture. The tweet from Kilroy’s Recess invited people to the club for the underage girls.
Kilroy’s tweet was later removed and the organization issued an apology saying it was a joke made in bad taste. Officials from local organizations, Indiana University and the City of Bloomington criticized the tweet, some accusing Kilroy’s of encouraging reprehensible and dangerous behaviors.
On this week’s Noon Edition, our panelists discussed the college experience, alcohol awareness, and sexual assault.
Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton and Indiana University’s Dean of Students, Lori Reesor met with Kilroy’s management and took a tour of the Kilroy’s Recess facility Wednesday afternoon following the controversy. Director of Communications for Mayor Hamilton, Mary Catherine Carmichael says the mayor has had concerns about the business since its development. As a result of some of those concerns, one of Kilroy’s co-owners changed the set-up in order to make it harder for those over 21 with drinks to mingle with those underage.
“They have met all the burdens of Indiana state law on this topic, to the best of our knowledge,” she says.
Co-owner of The Back Door, Nicci Boroski says her staff has done bystander intervention training with Middle Way House to look out for patrons who might be in a dangerous a situation.
“It’s important to make sure the victim is given water, food, attention, whatever they need, and the perpetrator is bounced out of there, hopefully with a picture, so we know who they are, and they can be identified again,” she says.
Middle Way House has also offered to train staff at Kilroy’s locations.
Leslie Fasone is the Senior Director for Wellness, Prevention and Victim Advocacy at the IU Health Center. She also works with the student organization, Culture of Care. She says in both national research and studies conducted by IU, researchers have found substance is a huge factor in many cases of sexual assault.
Fasone says we need to think bigger when it comes to tackling these issues. Sometimes, education on the university level isn’t enough.
“What are we doing on our policy level? What are we doing to hold people accountable?” she says. “I think it’s hard to change culture.”
Suzie Wilcox is a student at IU and serves as an Executive Board Member for the university’s Feminist Student Association. She says it can be hard for any student to avoid the drinking culture, especially freshman during their first time living away from home.
“You’re young; you’re susceptible. It’s such a form of compensation. It’s such a form of proving yourself,” she says.
Wilcox says despite the fact the university is introducing more programming to educate students about substance abuse and sexual assault, the culture is so ingrained in the college experience at IU.
“I don’t know if the university’s efforts will be ever enough, but I know that they are doing what they can.”
Mary Catherine Carmichael, Director of Communications, City of Bloomington Mayor’s Office
Suzie Wilcox, Executive Board Member, Indiana University Feminist Student Association
Nicci Bororski, Co-Owner, The Backdoor
Leslie Fasone, Senior Director for Wellness, Prevention and Victim Advocacy, IU Health Center
Note: Kilroy’s did not respond to a request for comment or a request to be on this week’s show.