Clearing the air on CampusClarity

Gavin Gaddis

When I originally sat down to write this piece I had a thesis. I was full of pith and vinegar, ready to admonish students using Yik Yak to whine about having to complete the two hour CampusClarity sexual abuse awareness exam-thing.

Then I took our CampusClarity test for myself.

What is the deal with the first half? The final half deals with alcohol, drugs and sexual assault in a mature manner with plenty of relevant videos and articles relating to the situations at hand.

The opening segment is half-baked attempt to con me into enjoying myself, like those mythical groups who toured the country in the 90s attempting to keep kids off drugs through the power of sick yo-yo tricks. I felt as if I was watching a “Saturday Night Live” skit in which the joke was the content producer was trying their hardest to make something “the kids will like.”

Immediately I was assaulted by a try-hard art style seemingly derived from watching a ton of Buzzfeed listicle videos and random Youtube infographics.

I see why people took to social media to complain about this program. Those who regularly consume online content are able to tell when a producer is pandering to a certain demographic. I most certainly felt this way during the first half.

Non-threatening music played behind a strong, confident narrator while every single word they said popped onto screen in bold text of varying sizes. This is the video version of shaking keys in front of a crying baby.

After pausing the initial video to calm down I told myself “Me, I bet they’re doing this to comfort the viewer so they will be more open-minded to the stereotype-breaking information that is about to be thrown at them.”

Ten minutes later, CampusClarity tells the story of an awkward morning after two freshman boink at a party.

The women go clothes shopping after the hookup. The guys sit around and play video games while also being emotionally ignorant.

The character of Kelly does not want a relationship in his first year of college, so he decides he will simply not text the girl back because “She will figure it out, girls are smart.”

What do women do when they talk? Clothes shopping, right?

What do guys do when they talk? Play video games.

CampusClarity seems to mean well with their fancy graphics and high production values, yet also perpetuate stereotypes while trying to break down others.

Further on in the program a punk rock obsessed manic pixie dream girl stereotype develops an addiction to alcohol and drugs, spiralling out of control until her roommate has to talk her out of doing a bump of cocaine.

What should happen to the art major? She takes too many courses and develops an addiction to dangerous substances, of course!

I feel like I have the plot to a sitcom sitting right here in this article. If anyone from NBC wants a bring back Must-See-TV Thursday, you know where to find me.

On the bright side, none of the female characters are slut shamed. The vast majority of the video interviews chosen during the section on hookup culture feature negative stories, but nobody is outright shamed for having slept with another freshman.

The following information might be shocking: It is possible to engage in sexual congress with a consenting sober adult and not be wracked with negative social and mental problems following it.

Casual sex is not for everyone but this does not discount the fact that there are many people who safely and happily practice the horizontal mambo on a regular basis.

Yet CampusClarity only presents the idea that this can happen in one single sentence at the end of the hookup culture unit.

USI’s CampusClarity is not for someone who regularly watches Laci Green videos or subscribes to the Sex Nerd Sandra podcast. CampusClarity is for the innocent, the ignorant and those who are curious but don’t know what to ask.

Bearing this in mind, I wish to make a public declaration: if I was in charge of this school I’d have done the exact same thing. If programs like this help protect even one person from being abused or injured by ignorance of dangerous situations, every penny spent and minute wasted on try-hard videos was worthwhile.