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.
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.
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.
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.
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.