Ethnography class presentations suggest change at Marquette

Larson Seaver and Kevin Wells

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Ethnography class presentations suggest change at Marquette

Rachel Harmon discusses her project.

Rachel Harmon discusses her project.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg // andrew.himmelberg@marquette.edu

Rachel Harmon discusses her project.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg // andrew.himmelberg@marquette.edu

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg // andrew.himmelberg@marquette.edu

Rachel Harmon discusses her project.

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Students in the Ethnography of the University gave presentations Friday, Dec. 2, on a range of topics, such as the impact of rape culture and the need for sexual health education on campus.

The presentations were semester-long projects. “(Students) are studying university life thinking about what could potentially be improved here at Marquette and making proposals for change,” Beth Godbee, an assistant professor in English and the instructor of the class, said. “This event helps highlight their semester-long research and helps them share those proposals with the campus community.”

Godbee continued. “Because students are focused on proposals, I think the ones that will be most impactful may have to do with which students push (hardest) for change to be made,” she said.

Rachel Harmon, a senior in the College of Communication, discussed rape culture at Marquette in her research project entitled, “Rape Talk.”

Harmon said her research was about how students perceive the issue of rape and sexual assault on campus. She said the inspiration for the research came from “The Hunting Ground,” an exposé film on rape crimes on U.S. campuses, which mentioned a sexual assault case at Marquette.

Harmon’s research consisted of drawing from her own experiences, looking at Marquette’s online resources regarding sexual assault, two student interviews and an online survey.

“I found out that students don’t agree on the issue (of sexual assault),” she said. “Some students think that it isn’t the most important issue and it’s not that prevalent on campus, whereas some students think it is a very pressing issue.”

“It was very interesting to see that drastic difference in opinions because I thought we were all like-minded on the issue but we’re actually not,” she said.

Harmon said the staff and students need to work together more and create a “transparent” space to discuss the issue as well as be more engaged with each other.

Vanessa Koerner, a sophomore in the College of Communication, made a report entitled, “Discussing Campus Safety,” which took a deeper look into policing at the university and the transition from the Department of Public Safety to Marquette University Police Department.

Koerner’s research included Marquette’s Fire and Safety report, an online survey and interviews with MUPD Chief Paul Mascari and Marquette students.

“An overwhelming amount of students from my survey found that the transfer of DPS to MUPD was necessary,” she said. “It was well over half of them.”

She said this data conflicted with her student interviews, where some students said they didn’t think the change was necessary.

One of Koerner’s proposals addressed student relations with MUPD.

“It’s hard to talk to MUPD about sensitive topics like rape and sexual assault,” she said. I think it would be a good idea to start an open discussion forum for those kinds of conversations. Everyone can sit down and meet and you can talk to the police and they can respond. Change occurs through conversation.”

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