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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Mural confronts athlete privilege & sexual assault

“Athletes get special treatment, which I feel guilty for saying because I’m an athlete as well,” said junior women’s lacrosse player Anna Howard.

“I feel guilty for being an athlete and knowing I have this special privilege.”

Howard created a mural on the graffiti wall by the lake that criticizes Guilford College’s response to sexual assault and what she sees as inaction against assailants who also happen to be athletes.

The mural depicts the Guilford Quaker mascot on the phone in separate comic panels saying, “He did what?”

“Is she pressing charges?”

“We can’t expel him — he’s an athlete.”

Howard’s inspiration to make the piece came after a close friend told her that an athlete sexually assaulted her.

“My friend got in more trouble for being drunk than the male student did for the assault,” said Howard.

“We talk a lot about our consent policy, but never seem to do much about it when it’s violated.”

Howard was also inspired by what she considers the hypocrisy of the situation.

“It’s not just the athletes that are committing sexual assault, but they do get away with it more,” said Howard.

The piece has not created the reaction that Howard hoped for.

“Sexual assault is not just a Guilford problem, it’s a global problem,” said Howard.

“A lot of college and professional athletes are not punished for their stupid s**t.”

The student reactions to the piece have been varied, but generally support the validity of the mural’s statement.

“I don’t think being an athlete should be any kind of viable excuse for getting you out of trouble,” said Brittney DeCesare, senior volleyball player and psychology major. “If you commit the crime, whether you’re an athlete or not, you should be held accountable regardless of what contribution you make to a team. To do otherwise defies all ethics and contradicts what they teach you in athletics about sportsmanship.”

Seth Rose, sophomore sports studies major and former soccer player, saw it differently.

“I see validity in it, but I think the mural is a little misplaced,” said Rose. “Saying that this school dismisses sexual assault is one thing, but saying they’re dismissing sexual assault perpetrated by athletes is a whole other thing.

“I think it’s kind of wrongly attributing this principle to Guilford. I would much rather see it focused on students or the administration in general.”

The comments from the coaches was just as mixed.

“If you wanted to get the point across about sexual violence there should be a better way or a more positive way,” said Dennis Shores, head tennis coach. “I don’t believe it should be in a cartoon because there is nothing funny about it. I believe it reflects a reality of society, but not a reality of Guilford. It’s an issue everywhere, on every campus.”

However, Danny Cash, head track and field coach worried more about the system than the aesthetic.

“As a person with a police background, I say that overall the system should handle itself and it shouldn’t matter if you’re an athlete or not.”SONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSC

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