College's ‘deconstruct masculinity’ program doubles in size

  • Northwestern University will begin offering two installments of its "NU Men" program in an effort to help more men talk "about emotions" and the "patriarchy."
  • The first workshop of the revamped program will feature a two-hour discussion on "combating toxic masculinity," while participants will be required to keep a journal throughout the six-week program.

Northwestern University plans to double the capacity of the “men’s project” that it launched last year to help male students “deconstruct their own masculinity.”

Each quarter since spring 2016, “NU Men” has offered 12 openings for a six-week program where men can learn how “oppression is impacted by their male or masculine identity” and how they can “contribute to stopping violence.”

“It was a really good space to be able to share in those conversations that you normally wouldn’t have."   

[RELATED: Duke recruits men for program to fight ‘toxic masculinity’]

The program was launched by Paul Ang, the school’s Director of Men’s Engagement, immediately after the university received a $300,000 “violence prevention” grant from the Department of Justice, though a school official told Campus Reform that the program is entirely funded by the university itself, and is not supported by the federal grant.

While NU Men initially offered one course per semester, that will change during the approaching winter quarter, according to The Daily Northwestern, which reports that  the program will now host two courses per quarter, with a total capacity for 24 students whose “gender identity, expression, and/or biological sex align with male-ness, man-ness, and masculinity.”

The first workshop of the winter quarter will begin in November, featuring a two-hour discussion on “combatting toxic masculinity.”

[RELATED: Prof suggests ‘toxic masculinity’ caused Vegas massacre]

Over the course of the six-week program, participants will be guided through a series of discussions related to masculinity, including “positive ways” they can cope with the daily stresses of life, and “the relationship between masculinity and violence.”

Additionally, they will be asked to keep a personal journal through the course, turning it over to school’s administration for “assessment” upon its conclusion.

“Engaging men, particularly college men, in conversations around what it means to be a man…can reduce gender-based violence and develop healthier relationships with masculinity,” explained Dan Amato, a facilitator of the course, adding that they are “always looking for opportunities where we can engage more men in that conversation.”

[RELATED: College program will help men cope with ‘toxic masculinity’]

Student David Gleisner, a member of the inaugural class, praised the program in an interview with The Daily Northwestern for helping him learn about the “patriarchy.”

“It was a really good space to be able to share in those conversations that you normally wouldn’t have with other men—talking about emotions, talking about rape culture, talking about how masculinity relates to the patriarchy,” he said.

Notably, faculty members are encouraged to nominate students who might benefit from the program, but individual applicants are also welcome to apply.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen

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Toni Airaksinen
Toni Airaksinen | Columnist at PJ Media

Toni Airaksinen is Columnist at PJ Media and a Consultant at Youth Radio. She was previously a New Jersey Campus Correspondent, reporting on liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform with a focus on Title IX, the OCR, and the First Amendment. During college, she also was a columnist for Quillette and The Columbia Spectator. Her exclusives have been featured on FOX News and The Drudge Report. She graduated from Barnard College in 2018.

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