AD Phi hookup panel offers varied viewpoints, little discussion
The opportunity for true discussion, however, was limited by the fact that panelists spent the majority of the event justifying their presence and responding individually to student questions, with little interaction between panelists.
About 120 students attended Wednesday night’s “Hooking Up” panel, many of them leaning against the walls or crowding the doorway after the 80 seats in the Danforth University Center Formal Lounge were taken.
The panel included Student Health Advisory Committee Vice President Kate Cygan, Father Gary Braun of the Catholic Student Center and professors Susan Stiritz, Tim Bono and Glenn MacDonald, representing the fields of sexuality studies, psychology and economics, respectively.
Though many students were confused why MacDonald, an economist, was on the panel, he took the opportunity to discuss the increased trend toward hookups trading off from long-term relationships.
“Economics might describe an increase in hooking up as when the benefits go up or costs go down for things that are desirable, they will happen more,” MacDonald said. “I don’t have any data; I haven’t done any surveys; I haven’t done any research in the subject, other than being a human, I guess.”
Bono brought up some hidden costs beyond the often discussed risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.
“One of the costs that is overlooked or downplayed is the potential for attachment between two people that think it would be a quick thing and then go separate ways,” Bono said.
It was the unrecognized fraternity’s first open “literary” event.
Junior Will Ralls, ADPhi’s internal vice president, said the topic was inspired by the general buzz on campus in addition to a June New York Times article profiling the sex culture at the University of Pennsylvania.
“It’s been a topic that’s been on the national conscience for the last 18 months. There was a controversial article in the New York Times called ‘Sex on Campus’ that talked about the dynamic of women and hookup culture,” Ralls said. “It’s in the zeitgeist of Wash. U. People always talk about it in ‘Wash U Confessions.’”
Junior Greg Rowsey, a member of ADPhi, said the panel discussion is different than the other sex-oriented events on campus, like Sex Week, because the topic is oriented toward hookup culture.
“As far as I know, Sex Week is more about sex education, and it’s more about promotion of healthy sex and some other fun things,” he said. “It’s not entirely about sex, more about hooking up, which has a different connotation.”
Junior Nelson Gomes enjoyed the panel, but said he was upset the panelists didn’t stake out clear positions.
“I would have appreciated if they got into more evaluative arguments. Some of the speakers were a little hesitant to pick a side,” he said.
Stiritz,, a lecturer in the Brown School of Social Work, said she enjoyed the panel and the open discussion but would have appreciated more student involvement.
“I’ve worked with students for 12 years in sexuality courses, so I would have liked to get into a deeper discussion with students and what they thought,” Stiritz said. “[Students] asked questions, but they didn’t get a chance to say what their experiences were.”
According to Ralls, the fraternity plans to have about one panel discussion and one lecture per semester.
For students who missed the event, ADPhi plans to post a video of the discussion on the group’s YouTube page.
ADPhi “is a social but also a literary frat. It’s this niche that other fraternities or sororities don’t offer,” Rowsey said. “We wanted an open event so Greeks and non-Greeks can participate in a dialogue.”