MasculinUT was launched in 2015 as a program to help reduce sexual assault and interpersonal violence, with strategies specifically tailored to men to engage them in ways to prevent violence.
In April 2018, news reports inaccurately stated that MasculinUT was a program that treated masculinity as a mental health issue.
Following these news reports and other inquiries about MasculinUT’s intent last spring, the program’s original steering committee was reconvened and expanded to provide recommendations and feedback to ensure that the program’s mission is clearly defined and fully aligned with its original intent of reducing sexual assault and interpersonal violence.
In September 2018, Soncia Reagins-Lilly, the vice president of student affairs and dean of students, accepted the steering committee’s recommendations and feedback. Following conversations with students, faculty and staff, the Office of the Dean of Students will use them as a guiding tool:
- Shift oversight of the program from the Counseling and Mental Health Center to the Office of the Dean of Students to avoid any confusion or misinformation that could interfere with the program’s success.
- Create a governance oversight committee that captures the wide perspectives of students, faculty and staff to help ensure that all program elements remain focused on reducing sexual assault and interpersonal violence.
- Host focus groups to discuss renaming the program and/or implement a clarifying subtitle as a men’s engagement group on sexual assault and interpersonal violence prevention.
- Revise the job description and title for the program coordinator position and ensure that it is aligned with program’s functions, pillars and goal of reducing sexual assault and interpersonal violence.
- Audit and conduct user testing on the website, using the results to revise the website so that it accurately reflects the program’s refocused efforts.
UT Austin Makes Changes to MasculinUT Program After Conservative Backlash – KUT – October 17, 2018
U. of Texas Overhauls Program on Masculinity to Avoid Stigma – The Chronicle of Higher Education – October 15, 2018
MasculinUT Rebrands Five Months After Conservative Media Backlash, Temporary Hiatus – The Daily Texan – October 14, 2018
UT Austin Rethinks MasculinUT Program After Criticism From Conservative Groups – KUT Radio – May 9, 2018
FACT CHECK: Do ‘Liberals’ at the University of Texas Want to Designate Masculinity a Mental Illness? – Snopes – May 1, 2018