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Regarding Removal of ’50 Shades of Grey’

’50 Shades’ should not be shown on the campus of NDSU, paid for by student fees, approved by the administration of the college, because it negates our collegial efforts to provide a safe environment on campus.

Sexual assault hurts people and damages them to the core of their being. The work I’ve done in the military as a chaplain and as a priest for 20 years has helped me realize just how damaging sexual assault can be to an individual. At the heart of every sexual assault case is illegitimate consent. ‘50 Shades’ promotes confusion on legitimate consent and thus promulgates a culture wherein men are permitted the abuse of women.

In ’50 Shades’ Steele breaks up with Grey … so he breaks into her home and is intimate with her without her consent: she says NO and tries to kick him away. This meets the Department of Justice’s legal definition of rape.

Additionally, themes within the movie violate NDSU policy Section 603 on Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Compliance: stalking, sexual harassment, physical sexual assault, using an intoxicant to attain coercive consent, continued pressure to have sex after one party says no, promoting coercive consent, and confused or ambiguous consent as legitimate consent.

Promoting behavior through “entertainment” that is antithetical to NDSU policy on sexual misconduct is not fostering a safe environment on the campus. Furthermore, preventative goals for sexual misconduct on any campus should perpetuate the importance of legitimate consent not glamorize forced consent.

College campuses have a high incidence of sexual assault and showing the film on campus is incongruous with safe environment protocol.

The administration makes cancelations for NDSU all the time in the interest of public safety. Ladd Hall was recently shut down for a chemical spill and every time we have a serious snow storm the entire campus is shut down. The dithering the administration has given the students on this issue, i.e. nobody has the authority to cancel the movie, is dishonest. ‘50 Shades’ should be canceled in the interest of public safety.

‘American Sniper’ was recently canceled at universities in the United States out of fear it might incite hatred towards people of faith. Many of us are alarmed that the same considerations and diligence to end sexual misconduct on a college campus are immaterial and extraneous.

Rev. James Cheney, Newman Center Director

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