The first annual Men’s Summit was a missed opportunity for the student men of the university.
Less than 20 students filled the Beck conference room at the Brown-Lupton University Union for the keynote speech by Rachel Wagner, associate director in housing and residence life at the University of Dayton.
The bulk of Wagner’s presentation consisted of a list of male gender role conflicts in today’s society. “Boys don’t cry” was the first rule on the list.
“In our world, women are valued by what they are and men are valued by what they do,” Wagner said. “Men believe that if you are not producing, you are not living up to who you are supposed to be.”
Summit committee member Juan Martinez, a senior communication studies major, said he believed the summit succeeded in providing a common ground to foster conversation.
“If you came to the summit you took something away that changed you,” Martinez said.
A diverse spectrum of experience was a theme throughout the summit.
The summit began by a panel discussion led by Bill Moncrief, senior associate dean of the Neeley School of Business, Darron Turner, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, and Joel Burns, Fort Worth city councilman.
While Burns talked about the hardships of being bullied in high school because of his sexual orientation, Moncrief reflected on the sudden responsibility of becoming the head of the family when his father passed away.
Each leader shared their own unique experiences and philosophies proved just how large the discussion could possibly become.
Later sessions led by Jeremy Albers, associate chaplain of TCU religious and spiritual life, Paul Schrodt, associate professor of communication studies and Wagner encouraged audience participation.
Those attending were provided opportunities discuss what they learned during the summit and share their own experiences regarding the role of men in today’s society.
In the keynote address, Wagner said she believed men needed to be provided a space to talk about this issue. She said men find that having these conversations goes against what is considered socially acceptable for men.
“We need to take the silencer off these conversations,” Wagner said. “If we don’t, we risk never being in a loving relationship.”
To help solidify the theme of starting conversations, Wagner ended the summit with a challenge to everyone in the room: To make a commitment to keeping the conversation going and to change their views on masculinity.