Posted in News, Top News

National Sweater Day video spurs negative reaction from faculty

The video, depicting an interaction between a teacher and student, has been called "offensive" and "inappropriate"

Screenshot 2016-02-03 14.06.39

A video posted on SFU’s YouTube page and distributed by SFU Facilities Services has been removed following negative reactions from faculty members and students.

The video, originally released in 2014, promotes National Sweater Day, a yearly observation meant to promote energy conservation. It depicts a casual exchange between a female instructor and a male student. Though the video is no longer available on YouTube, The Peak was able to retrieve a copy, which can be viewed below:

 

In an entry on her personal blog, Department of History faculty member Elise Chenier criticized the video at length: “When the very place you work promotes the kind of sexism that your intellectual work seeks to contest and ultimately, destroy, you feel like you are being eaten from the inside out. There was once a time when I would have seen the video is simply outdated, idiotic, and yes, offensive, but now I see it much differently.
“Now I feel the harm it does, and not just to Miss Pinkham, but also to her male student who is encouraged to relate to half the population on such a limited level, and who himself then is defined by his heterosexual desire for women.”

Chenier also claimed that “the collective outrage of female faculty resulted in the video being removed from the SFU website.”

“There was once a time when I would have seen the video is simply outdated, idiotic, and yes, offensive, but now I see it much differently.”

Many took to Twitter to express their outrage at the videos, including SFU faculty members Esther Verheyen, Jeremy Snyder, and Kevin Morse. Several of these tweets are included below:

When the video was first released in 2014, it did not receive the same negative feedback on Twitter, with one commenter referring to it as “clever.” However, The Peak was unable to find any positive comments towards the video from this year.

SFU has since sent several apologies via their public Twitter account and deleted the video from their website and YouTube account.

Joanne Curry, Vice President External Relations, sent an email via University Communications apologizing for the video.

“As the video was produced by an external vendor, I had not seen it. When I did watch it, I immediately agreed with the feedback we had received that the video is inappropriate, sexist, and not in keeping with our equity commitment,” Curry wrote. “We took steps to remove the video as quickly as possible and have followed up with the group who produced and distributed the video to ensure it will no longer be used.”

Curry detailed plans to review University Communications’ policy on reposting videos and other content, noting that “future requests to share information by email to the SFU community will be vetted by leaders within University Communication” and “staff of the department responsible for this video will be required to undergo appropriate training to ensure an equitable and safe work environment for everyone in the SFU community.”

An official statement posted on SFU’s website, also penned by Curry, echoed many of her statements from her email, adding, “we plan to investigate how this video was posted and plan to put into place additional procedures to ensure that this will not happen again in the future.

“We appreciate your patience in this matter.”

  • trollsberg

    The subject of this lighthearted humour is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE IN THIS DAY IN AGE.

  • matt smith

    Sad to see the continued presence of extremist identity politics/political correctness/”critical” theory gibberish at my Alma mater. A perfectly idiotic, curiously vitriolic, and deeply heterophobic reaction to an utterly innocent video. Anyone who isn’t rolling their eyes hard at Elise Chenier’s frantic bloviating needs to take a vacation from the academia bubble.

    • Jason Peil

      Meh.
      Douchery. Heterophobic? Somebody has a normativity issue.

    • Ashley Sara Peckford

      Heterophobia doesn’t exist, lol

    • Sarah P

      Yeah, the Men’s centre at SFU has had a deleterious effect on student life, agreed. Extremist identity politics like resisting sexualizing some profs but not others. “Utterly innocent” – lol, ok.

    • matt smith

      Interesting Sarah P, I don’t know much about this men’s centre business as it opened well after
      I was gone but if it’s actually succeeding in making life a little bit harder
      for the regressive leftists, SJWs and anti-speech, fainting couch feminist cry bully
      trolls (much in evidence in this forum) they’re aces in my book. I’d be willing to bet
      though that they’re just fighting identity politics with more identity politics
      which will get them nowhere. Still, had there been a club on campus as hated
      as that one seems to be I’d have wanted to join for sure. Anyone pissing off
      that many Liberal Arts and Social “Science” majors in 2016 must be doing
      something right? Right?

  • Dylen Durret

    Canadian Universities are staffed by far-left women who hate anything straight, white, and male.

    • Sarah P

      How would you know?

  • Stan

    As an alumni of SFU that graduated in 1994 I find this video distasteful, disrespectful and inconsistent with the values, ethics and policies of SFU. Myself and many of my fellow students would have objected then and certainly do now.

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