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BU students create public-service spot assailing Barstool Blackout Tour

Posted by Roy Greene  March 1, 2012 04:16 PM

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(Bill Brett/Globe Staff)


Hundreds of people protested against the Barstool Blackout Tour held recently at the House of Blues.

Students active in the Boston University Center for Gender Sexuality and Activism have paired with the Feminist Collective to produce a public service announcement that encourages people to “knock out” a blog called Barstool Sports.

The PSA, which students shot Saturday at BU’s George Sherman Student Union, denounced what the students describe as “rape culture.”

Barstool Sports sponsors the Barstool Blackout Tour, parties that have been gaining notoriety for encouraging attendees to consume enough alcohol to black out. The Barstool blog asks students to recommend venues to rent out, and Barstool then throws parties for various universities, without university administrative approval.

The slogan for their campus rep program reads “By the C- student for the C- student.”

The Barstool gatherings are centered mainly at East Coast campuses, but are gaining popularity in the Midwest. The events have galvanized area college students, first at Northeastern and now at BU.

One of the organizers of the PSA, senior Becca Wilkinson, explained that the students were working on a video project put on by the Feminist Collective, or FemCo. Wilkinson said the PSA was partially in response to the recent arrest of BU hockey player Max Nicastro, who was charged with sexual assault.

Nicastro is the second BU hockey player to be arrested this school year. Teammate Corey Trivino has been accused of indecent assault and battery on a female student.

Neither Trivino nor Nicastro is currently enrolled at Boston University, according to school officials.

The multiple arrests have caused a huge buzz among students. Some students have created controversy by posting Facebook memes, popular pictures with witty slogans.

“Took the rape stairs, didn’t run into a BU hockey player” one featuring a photo known as the “Success Kid” reads.

Wilkinson said such a lighthearted attitude to the serious topic of rape is exactly what FemCo is protesting with its PSA, which will be posted on YouTube as well as various campus Facebook groups, she said.

“We decided that we would try to make our campaign focus on rape culture, which is the idea that rape has become acceptable to talk about, to joke about, people have it in their everyday lives,” she said. “They just say things about it, they don’t think twice about it.”

“We’re angry, and we’re doing something about it,” she added.

The PSA director, sophomore Michelle Tsiakaros, expressed disappointment in the school’s reaction to the situation, and raised doubts about the potential effectiveness of the task force being established by BU President Robert Brown.

“It sounded just like a lot of words…like there was nothing really behind it,” she said.

Tsiakaros said the PSA was her way of “helping out” the situation, and that she thought a video was a good way to get the message out quickly. She also wanted to emphasize that the response was not against party culture or having fun, just about the rape culture she believes Barstool encourages.

To defend their position, students speaking in the PSA quoted posts from the Barstool blog and US rape statistics to emphasize the seriousness of the problem.

Barstool Blackout hosted a party at the House of Blues for Northeastern University on Feb. 2. According to the site, another event scheduled at the same location for BU students on March 31 is already sold out.

Waheeb Qari, a student in BU’s intensive English-language program, walked in on the filming and stuck around to observe. He said that he thought the theme of the PSA was worth hearing.

“I think they have a noble message to receive, to give people,” he said.

Qari also said he was not pleased to hear Barstool was coming back to Boston.

“I feel bad about that,” he said. “I hope they never come back.”


This story was published under an agreement between Boston University and Boston.com.

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