Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Syracuse pulls kiss cam over concerns about campus sexual violence

Well you can kiss this Syracuse fan tradition goodbye — but only if it's not on camera.

Syracuse University said it is getting rid of its "kiss cam" and opted not to use the popular public display of affection during last weekend's football game against Central Michigan, after a letter to the editor on questioned its appropriateness.

And, given colleges' current focus on preventing sexual assault on campus, it's a sure bet other politically correct schools will follow suit.

Kiss cams used to be considered an innocent way to pass the time during football and basketball game delays — when the camera seeks out couples and encourages them to kiss. The smooch is displayed on the Jumbotron, often to cheers from the crowd.

But the author of last week's letter stated that the kiss cam "can encourage and condone sexual assault and a sense of male entitlement" by coaxing men to kiss the women they are seated next to, even if the women do not want to be kissed.

"We are taking the time to assess the concerns expressed in the letter to the editor," Sue Edson, executive senior associate athletics director for communications, said on Monday.

During the Sept. 12, game between the Orange and Wake Forest, letter writer Steve Port said he witnessed two incidences on the kiss cam in which women indicated they didn't want to be kissed.

Yet, the men nearby kissed them anyway to cheers from the crowd.
"The instances I witnessed at the game encourage and condone sexual assault and a sense of male entitlement, at best. And they are an actual instance of assault, at worst," Port wrote in his letter."No one has the right to forcefully touch someone be it a hug, a kiss or a violent rape.
In one of the instances, he said a woman’s head shake no was met with “no less than six sets of hands from the seats around her shov(ing) her unwilling face into his.” The crowd cheered, he wrote in a letter to the editor, which generated hundreds of comments on, both agreeing and disagreeing with him.
"I adamantly insist that Syracuse University student government, the chancellor, the athletic director, etc. review what happened last weekend and seriously consider the ramifications of what they are encouraging," he said.
The letter posted on received more than 220 comments and was shared 3,500 times on Facebook and Twitter. Some people questioned Port's recollection of the events, noting that they were also at the game and did not see anything inappropriate. Others agreed that the kiss cam has to go.

The university isn’t the only venue rethinking its kiss cam policy. The New York Mets last week apologized and said they would stop showing two opposing players inside the Jumbotron heart as a joke after some fans complained it was "homophobic."

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