The Men and Masculinity program was created by Safer, Cal Poly's confidential sexual assault, stalking and dating violence resource. The program's intention is to address the culture of masculinity at Cal Poly and start a dialogue about how this definition of masculinity is adding to sexual violence, and how it can be redefined to change the culture that is greatly affecting such a large protion of our student population. There is a need to address these issues on campus, and more male-identified leaders are taking a stand, encouraging outreach to men to get invovled.

the problem

Masculinity has come to the forefront of the issues in today's society. The idea that a man is supposed to be powerful, strong, emotionless and countless other things associated wtih the version of masculinity that has taken precedent in our society is troubling. It leads men to feel as if they have to fit into this mold and leaves less "masculine" males, females and non-binary people at the bottom. Hegemonic masculinity is seen as the catalyst for many of the issues in our society today, from gun violence to gender-based violence and more.

the program

Currently, the team is working to bring interested men who want to help shape what the program will become. There will be men from various groups and organizations on campus like Greek Life, athletics, minority groups and more.

On Oct. 13, Cal Poly Safer held an event in the University Union plaza in honor of It’s On Us Fall Week of Action and Domestic Violence Awareness Month, inviting prominent figures from Cal Poly to come together and stand against sexual violence. During the event, people were asked to take the It’s On Us pledge to create an environment where sexual assault survivors were supported and to stand against the culture that creates it.  “I don’t think sexual violence something very many guys think about. Being more visible on campus and making men realize that they really can do a lot to change the environment around sexual violence is a good way to change that.” – fifth year communications major Brandon Covarrubias  “We need to bring more men into the movement to end sexual violence because it's not only women affected by this. I know men who have been assaulted. And the shame women carry around with them is often so much worse in men, because we focus so much on women. How is a man supposed to share his story if this issue supposedly doesn't exist with men?” Knowing how important men are in the movement, second-year Philosophy major Gina Welish stops a male and encourages him to get involved and sign the pledge. “Men are needed in the movement because it's not a women's issue, it's a societal issue. Men are often the perpetrators of sexual assault and even if they aren't perpetrators, men can contribute to rape culture without knowing it. Men are needed to talk to other men to show that it is a manly topic and that we should care. Men are needed to help end the rape culture of jokes, of boys will be boys, of the need to have sex. Men are needed to show that masculinity can be healthy and it doesn't include sexual assault.” – senior biology major Collin Scholl Fourth-year biochemistry major Max Gomez greets fourth-year biology major Collin Scholl and fourth-year journalism major Matthew Medlin.  Scholl and Gomez are both involved with Safer and hope to bring in more men like Medlin to fight rape culture and the actions and words that create it. Fourth year wine and viticulture major Nick Paiva and fourth year mechanical engineering major Ryan Neil watch as leaders take the pledge and discuss how to get men more involved. Leaders from the Greek Life community were active in the day’s activities, showing their support for ending sexual violence and how important men are in the movement. It’s On Us is a national campaign started by the Obama Administration in response to the staggering number of sexual assaults that take place on college campuses. Almost 400,000 people have taken the pledge so far, and almost 200 took the pledge at the Oct. 13 event at Cal Poly. Cal Poly Vice President Keith Humphrey and President Jeffrey Armstrong pose for a picture at the event. Their attendance shows that it really is on everyone, regardless of gender or position, to take a stand in the movement Over 100 leaders turned out to pose for a photo to show that it’s on all of us – females, males, students, staff, faculty, police, city leaders and more – to support survivors and educate our community on the realities of sexual violence.  Safer’s new Men and Masculinity Coordinator Nick Bilich will start on Oct. 17 to create an effort to bring more men into this picture, and to engage them in a way that will take this movement to the next level.

the man

Nick Bilich is the Coordinator of the Men & Masculinity program at Cal Poly. He has been invovled with Safer for a few years running the respondent training which works with those who have been accused of sexual misconduct through a Title IX investigation. Since this is a new program, Bilich is currently laying the foundation for what the program will focus on and how they will be reaching men in a way that will bring them into the conversation about sexual violence.

the team

In addition to the new Men & Masculinity Coordinator, there is a team of dedicated students working to develop the program and set the foundation for where the program will go. They are working to evaluate the culture of masculinity at Cal Poly and bring in new male voices from various groups and communities on campus to make sure that everyone is included. One of the prominent catalysts that is making students think about masculinity and the idea of masculinity and what it means in our society is the 2016 Presidential Election. This has started a conversation nationwide about what it means to be a man, and that is prevalent at Cal Poly.

the solution


“My liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman.” – Tony Porter