By Rosie Alger
Elm Staff Writer
If you’ve been the recipient of catcalls in the past, or have seen it happen to others, then you understand how offensive it can be. Students and staff alike take the issue of catcalling seriously on Washington College’s campus.
Catcalling is hurtful or offensive language that is often sexual in nature and yelled out to people pass each other. Much of this behavior happens on streets. On campus, the crosswalk at Washington Avenue is a hotspot for catcalling.
Seniors Emily Lasdin and Sarah Mildeis have both experienced catcalling at the cross walk. “It’s really annoying and disrespectful to women,” said Lasdin
Having lived in Minta Martin Hall, Lasdin had to frequent the area. She recommended ignoring the offenders and moving along as if nothing had happened. “I tend to avoid eye contact,” Mildeis said.
“It happened a couple of times at the crosswalk. I wouldn’t say it was every day, but every once in a while,” said sophomore Ashley Gates, who lived in Queen Anne’s last year.
Gates said, most of the time the people doing the calling were driving by so not much could be done to resolve the issue. She advised not giving the perpetrators any attention, so that they would not be tempted to do it again, “But also don’t let them take advantage of you.”
Jerry Roderick, director of Public Safety, takes the offense very seriously. According to him, it happens on the WC campus more than one might think. “We’ve had a few complaints about it this semester already,” he said.
Roderick and the department of Public Safety do not dismiss the issue of catcalling, and strongly encourage students to report incidences to them. He said, “If it’s an incident that has occurred on campus and there’s an opportunity for Public Safety to intervene, we really encourage you to report it, because it is offensive, and we don’t tolerate any other offensive acts, so we’re certainly not going to tolerate this.”
Students and strangers driving who catcall could face serious penalties. For students, “Depending on the language, that will determine whether or not it’s a social policy violation, or it could be a Title IX violation. Either one of these are taken very seriously,” said Roderick.
Cases like this are forwarded to the Honor Board.
Some may not think catcalling is an issue for Public Safety, unless it gets extremely dangerous. Gates said that one should “maybe call Public Safety if they harass you to the point where you don’t feel safe or it’s a reoccurring event, but other than that I think we can handle it on our own.”
Whether or not you think that it is a big concern, if catcalling affects you or a friend, you can always contact Public Safety by calling them, or by reporting your incident through the LiveSafe mobile phone app.