KSU YESbody raises funds to protest KSUM conference

A Student Life staff member stopped me today to hand me a couple of flyers quoting A Voice for Men founder Paul Elam out of context that Student Life had to take down.

A KSU student organization called YESbody! started reading David Futrelle and started yet another source of dishonest punditry called MensRightsInfo. The blog states that both students and faculty are behind the blog, participating anonymously. However, they started a $500 GoFundMe fundraiser for a public demonstration during Male Students in Peril. Two of the donors include social justice academic Scott Ritchie and Interdisciplinary Studies Department Chair Robbie Lieberman. These two staff members were involved in attacks on KSUM with nothing but baseless accusations against my character in their arsenal.

YESbody! raised $325 by the time I saw the page. I immediately donated the remaining money with a comment.

Sage-donates-175

As misguided as I think the protest is, I want free speech to prevail and prosper.

The protesters have been invited multiple times to come to the conference and participate in discussion. That said, I’m unsure why the protest is even necessary. The KSUM conference is about raising awareness for marginalized voices anyway, so by all means RSVP.

MensRightsInfo responded with the following post:

In a post earlier today, we shared the gofundme link where we and the YESbody group on the Kennesaw State University campus are raising money for a “Peaceful Positive Protest” of the Men in Peril Conference to be held on the KSU campus on November 1. Though we easily raised $325 of our $500 goal in less than 24 hours, Sage Gerard of KSU Men took it upon himself to “make up the difference” and leave us this message.

Please judge for yourself. Do his sentiments ring true? Is our peaceful protest opposing his free speech? Have we judged him and others based on a lack of evidence? Is his donation all in the name of good spirited disagreement and first amendment rights, or is it perhaps another bullying/harassment tactic meant to silence or shame those who disagree?

wut

In what universe is me giving you money a bullying or harassment tactic? That question is so loaded that it would make for a particularly quick game of Rhetoric Roulette.

Let me make this perfectly clear: You have judged me and others based on a lack of evidence. Your introductory post makes unwarranted, loaded claims (emphasis mine):

1. This blog is anonymous for one reason: the Men’s Rights Movement has an established record of harassing, intimidating, and otherwise threatening its detractors (we’ll cover that in some posts later on). Our anonymity is not a signal that we feel we are doing anything wrong or harmful or a signal that we are afraid of anyone or anything, but rather a signal that those we are dealing with have a record of not engaging in rational discourse all that well and that we’d rather not get threatened with rape!

Oh, good grief.

2. The purpose of this blog is NOT to attack men. Let’s say that again. The purpose of this blog is NOT to attack men, nor is it to minimize the real issues that affect men and boys. The purpose of this blog is to raise consciousness around the issues that are relevant to men and boys, and the methods and strategies currently being used by the Men’s Rights Movement so that individuals in and around the KSU community can more easily make an informed decision regarding those issues.

They can’t make an informed decision if you cherry-pick content and twist context. Which you did.

If your blog makes for an informed decision, then date rape drugs makes for consensual sex. That’s how intellectually dishonest your blog is. You hid under the blanket of anonymity with faculty and started making wild and unwarranted character allegations from a Tumblr blog.

“Informed,” my ass.

3. (This is directed specifically to Men’s Rights activists): All information posted to this blog is stored elsewhere, and any attempts to hack the blog, remove the information, etc. will only result in us creating the blog again (heck, maybe we’ll even create it twice!). So please don’t bother. We’re just sharing information about your cause – so that should be a good thing, right?

Scott Ritchie filed a USG Hotline complaint against me with unwarranted character allegations, and Lieberman went behind my back to pull the ear of our current adviser. Neither of them have taken the time to speak to me about KSUM but have been keen to harass and demean with no thought or reason.

I am a marginalized man on campus who is not allowed to speak out. Why is that not in your blog? What happened to not minimizing the real issues men and boys face?

And not only that, but what about the women? You quote Paul out of context several times, but have you contacted the women of AVfM? The women of WomenAgainstFeminism? Why are women compassionate about men not on your blog if it is meant to be a source for men’s issues?

On another note, members of this group have expressed concerns over spending Sage’s money on our protest. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we raised enough to pay for the event and donate the excess (at least $175) to local sexual violence resource groups?

You were at $325 when I saw your page, and I matched the difference. My contribution was not excess funds, so not using my money for the protest would be breaking the promise you made on the page. That is fraudulent. Are you sure you want to back out of a promise with someone extending an olive branch this early? Is that the example you are going to set?

Think, for God’s sakes.

excess-money

The passive aggression around my donation is, well, look at this contributor below. No one thought to say, “Hey, it’s cool that someone with a different opinion is supporting your right to participate in the big discussion.” No, instead it’s “Sage and his buddies want to silence, oppress, shame and harass rape victims. Keep his money, but use my excess funds in the way you promised instead of his non-excess funds!”

175-match

Oh, what-EVER.

Well, since we are on the subject of victims, there is a disparity in representation and funding for men for IPV shelters. KSU doesn’t have aggregate counseling services for men in the KSU Women’s Resource and Interpersonal Violence Prevention Center. I heard about this Title IX problem straight from Assistant Dean Bob Maddox. Maybe you could contribute to that? I’ve already made a dent in that effort, and the administration mentioned including a men’s center in late 2015, with KSUM volunteering in development.

And if you ever decide to go beyond local stuff, I have this list of Georgian centers related to domestic violence. Some of them serve only women (because equality, I guess?), and the only ones I’ve looked into that serve men don’t actually shelter them. They just offer referral services to unnamed organizations that I’ve yet to find in the state. Maybe your research will be more fruitful and reassuring.

Or, if my money bothers you so much, then you can return it.

You won’t, though.

I know you will spend the money to make yourselves look good in whatever way you please.

Because that’s what this is about. Looking good.

When I was pushing for diversified gender studies literature, an equitable campus IPV centeran equitable self-defense program, feeding the homeless, and other issues that could reasonably be filed under “gender equality,” you all were nowhere to be found.

I did work, and now you’re trying to take the credit for the values I spent countless hours struggling to put on the map. Clearly to silence people like this guy.

It was only when I advocated looking at gender through a non-ideological lens did people start showing up to judge. It was only when KSUM members took a stand with humanitarian non-feminism did we start to see what this culture is really like: anti-male.

I have been subjected to many horrors as a marginalized voice on campus. Can you imagine how it feels seeing people like yourselves come out pretending to care about men while stepping on others in the process? This is not advocacy, it is hate disguised as love.

Just because I can see through the bullshit does not mean I am an unqualified activist. It is experience that tells me that you are not going to use that money out of compassion. Instead, you are going to donate that money to prove a point, and to attack hard-working people to co-opt virtues that don’t belong to either you or me.

I lost a lot of money helping others. Often without thanks or support in return. Looks like that happened again. You took my money and denied me a respectful representation of my position.

I won’t shut up, and I won’t go away. I am a man who is open about his feelings, and who deserves an equal chance with my ideas. I have experienced first-hand what an emotionally honest man endures, and that is why the conference is on, and why the truth will go out.

Feminism got it wrong. Male students are in peril.

UPDATE: After meeting with the co-presidents of YESbody, I learned that Menformation is not an official publication of YESbody! However, given how closely the organizations have been working together, it still appears that Menformation posts content that is representative of YESbody!’s position. I have asked the co-presidents to make a statement clarifying their actual involvement, and suggested they distance themselves from those who make character allegations without all of the evidence. Stay tuned in case there is more information on this subject.

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