UW-Madison quietly shelves controversial masculinity program

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has disbanded a program to educate “men-identified students” about the harm caused by traditional notions of masculinity.

In January, Campus Reform reported on the school’s Men’s Project, which aimed to “explore masculinity and the problems accompanied by simplified definitions of it” and to “create a sense of security in vulnerability” among male students.

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One goal of the six-week program, according to Sam Johnson, the violence prevention specialist at UW-Madison, was to “prevent future violence” through the discussion of “unhealthy interactions” related to masculinity, such as gender-based violence in relationships.

At the time, UW-Madison was preparing to host the program’s spring cohort, but following coverage from outlets including The Guardian, Fox News, The New York Daily News, The Huffington Post, and multiple local news outlets, the Men’s Project went dark.

The program even came to the attention of Republican State Senator Steve Nash, who criticized the program in an email to fellow legislators.

“Our friends at UW-Madison[,] not happy enough with labeling 'whiteness' as a societal problem, now are attacking another societal ill…, Men and their masculinity,” Nass wrote in an email obtained by The Capital Times, adding that “UW-Madison has become part of a national liberal effort to rid male students of their 'toxic masculinity.”

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Although multiple webpages for the Men’s Project are still online, the main page on the Multicultural Student Center's website is no longer active.

John Lucas, a university spokesperson, confirmed to Campus Reform on Monday that “UW-Madison no longer has an active chapter of the Men's Project.”

Lucas also denied that the school was planning to turn the Men’s Project into a course for academic credit, and while he declined to answer follow-up questions regarding why the program was cancelled, the school appears to have no intentions of offering it again in the future.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen