Section: News

Beer and Sex program subject to internal, external changes

The Beer and Sex Advisors have undergone several changes to their organization since last fall, including scheduling changes, restrictions on giving out phone numbers, changing of the language used at meetings and greater transparency.

While some of these changes are a result of internal conversations within the organization, many are due to collaborative efforts between Beer and Sex, the Cox Health and Counseling Center, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) and Equitus Health, the largest LGBTQ+ healthcare organization in Ohio, among others.   

After talks between the Cox Health and Counseling Center and Beer and Sex during the spring of 2018, the group transitioned from being a student organization to a departmental organization. This change allowed Beer and Sex Advisors to continue meeting with first years in dorms, since student organizations are technically not allowed to meet in residential spaces. Another development stemming from the transition was a directive from the Office of Residential Life requiring Community Advisors (CAs) to attend their halls’ Beer and Sex meetings.

However, the latest change — opening up the group’s manual to external review — affects all aspects of the organization. Jeremy Kauffman ’21, co-president of Beer and Sex, thinks this is a step in the right direction for the organization.

“I think that it’s a good thing, honestly, because having more people look at it, having more opinions and viewpoints just [helps] to make it a more encompassing manual for everybody,” he said. “So I think … the departmental change has been a good thing in that respect.” 

Among the departmental mandates added to the manual is a disclaimer preventing advisors from giving out their personal phone numbers to residents. According to Chris Smith, director of the Health and Counseling Center, the disclaimer was added to the manual’s shared document by Mike Durham, the Center’s associate director for substance abuse and case management.

“There was a comment that Mike put in there about not using their personal telephone numbers,” Smith said. “He and I never had the chance to give context about it, but as my associate director, I’m just going to stand with Mike and say he’s either had a conversation with the students or he’s got a good reason for doing this.”

Smith said that he and Durham, who will serve as the group’s advisor once he returns from medical leave, are encouraging Beer and Sex Advisors to reach out to residents in other ways, such as through email, social media or simply in face-to-face meetings.

Beer and Sex has also been pushed toward using less gendered language in meetings with first years. While this change was spearheaded by the co-presidents, Beer and Sex has received assistance from ODEI, Equitus Health and the Health and Counseling Center to determine the specific language used. 

“We do not say woman, we use terms such as assigned female at birth or AFAB people or people with vaginas,” Smith said. “There’s also we do not say the word man. You use assigned male at birth or AMAB people or people with a phallus.”   

The organization has also been attempting to streamline communication between its advisors and the CAs of their halls, using a shared document to establish meeting times. The schedule of Beer and Sex meetings has also changed: While the first two meetings will take place in the first two weeks of the semester, the latter two will be scheduled by the Beer and Sex Advisors for any date before Halloween weekend.

Smith hopes that the departmental collaboration with Beer and Sex will lead to a better organization and in turn a safer, more informed class of first years.

“We’re all involved in looking at this, and it’s by no means gonna be perfect, but I think it’s better than it probably ever has been,” Smith said. “And the goal is that next year as we’re reviewing the manual for the fall 2020 Beer and Sex presentations, that we can even grow and expand upon what we have here.”   

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