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Another Virginia university fraternity is in trouble with masculists – but this time, it is not for false sexual assault claims brought against the frat, but rather, for being too welcoming to men students and their families.

The Sigma Nu chapter at Old Dominion University had created a multi-prong  campaign to encourage new men students to join the so-called “STEM” fields of study (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) but the effort ran into trouble recently when masculists complained that signs directing and welcoming men were somehow oppressive to them.

Although an estimated 60% of college students are men, STEM fields are still dominated by women, who are often blamed by masculists for making these disciplines too daunting, demeaning and discriminatory for men to be attracted into them.

The wily women of the Sigma Nu (for “Science Nerds,” the original, whimsical appellation adopted by the socially concerned founders of the frat) decided to combat this historical and hysterical revulsion to men in STEM by “changing the culture” associated with rigorous, logical hard-science studies. Their rebranding efforts began with a series of signs attached to their dedicated science research domicile:

The first sign, designed to reassure nervous parents that their sons were welcome to STEM classes, touted the hearty camaraderie of the science students. “Rowdy and fun! Hope your baby boy is ready for a good time…”  This message was obviously designed to show new men students (and their parents) that they would be happy and well-cared for in their company.

The second, more modest sign, clearly indicated with an arrow the welcoming  and open educational path men should follow: “Freshwoman son drop-off.”

The third sign, with a its politically inclusive, anti-ageist message, encouraged fathers to join their sons if they wished: “Go ahead and drop off dad, too…”, meaning the women were willing to take on men of all ages and experience in their efforts to spread science education.

Inside the front door I toured a state-of-the-art facility that will rewrite the rule book on how to encourage men in science to be healthy, safe, included and productive.

The facility uses the “paradigm” approach, first pioneered in the mid 1970’s, where students are tossed into a challenging experimental environment where a series of real-life, practical projects are given to them. They are expected to explore their interests using their own preferred learning styles instead of the more traditional classroom lectures and/or ideological litmus tests that men STEM students in particular found so intimidating, unnerving and embarrassing. For example:

  • A mandatory breast cancer screening room offers first hand techniques in catching this awful disease early; the comfortable sofas and tasty libations available are designed to put newcomers completely at ease, a trend in men’s health centers elsewhere.

  • An advanced sleep study lab tracks and hopes to expand upon recent discoveries that sleeping in the nude promotes deeper sleep, weight loss, and vaginal health, areas of concern for many men students.

  • A well-stocked, working, student-led and run pharmacological dispensary is designed to give students practical skills in the synergies of both business and biochemical engineering.

  • A biology lab practicum where students can explore the subtle tease of flirtation and consent in a closely monitored and peer-reviewed format, complete with live-streaming to other locations worldwide.

However, this futuristic, bleeding-edge concept is attracting some negative reviews, much like the Taliban and other radical Islamists violently attack the education of men and boys in countries like Afghanistan.

Like the Taliban, the national organization behind the creative Sigma Nu local condemned these efforts to co-mingle women and men college students as “derogatory and demeaning,” adding it had “no place in our Fraternity or within any caring community, such as that of [Old Dominion University].”

Likewise, according to the BBC, the University President John R Broderick wrote “There is zero tolerance on this campus for sexual assault and sexual harassment…”, clearly indicating her discomfort with welcoming men into co-educational STEM environments that study controversial topics experimentally.

Although this innovative integration of genders by the local Sigma Nu frat is truly visionary, it may have gone too far too fast for some, I look forward to the day when both women and men can join together on campus as true equals unrestrained by the restrictions enforced by both masculist and traditionalist fuddy-duddies, who seem to have no sense of humor at all.

Editor’s note: For those who are unfamiliar with the author’s style, it will be helpful to note that she often uses satire and hyperbole in her writings.