Stanford tones down century-old kissing tradition in wake of #MeToo movement

A century-old tradition at Stanford University — in which upperclassmen track down freshman students and kiss them — is being toned down this year in the wake of the #MeToo and “Time’s Up” movements, according to organizers.

Several changes have been made to the annual “Full Moon on the Quad” event, which is sanctioned by the school and scheduled to take place on campus Wednesday night.

Instead of kissing, officials asked students to exchange white roses and “gratitude cards” — along with phone numbers for a possible first date, The Stanford Daily reports.

They also scrapped their in-house DJ, who in years past created a club-like atmosphere during the one-hour makeout fest. A jazz band was scheduled to replace them.

Other changes included the removal of the event’s “mouthwash table” — which reportedly promoted hook-ups and served as a makeshift bar — and a heightened awareness for providing consent.

“Me Too and Time’s Up are calling for culture change,” explained Carley Flanery, director of the Office of Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse at Stanford.

“The folks behind these movements are demanding the folks in charge no longer ignore their experiences and make real changes,” she told the Daily.

Students have said in the past that they enjoy taking part in FMOTQ, but they’ve also admitted that it’s become a problem in recent years.

“It had devolved into an event…we were not proud of planning,” said Snehal Naik, associate dean and associate director of Student Activities and Leadership.

“You name it, it happened at FMOTQ.”

While a number of changes were made last year — following a slew of sex assault reports and alcohol overdoses during the 2016 event — organizers say 2018 will be different than any other year.

“One of the big differences between how Full Moon on the Quad used to be and how it is now is the focus on this portion of Stanford culture,” co-organizer and junior class president Tony Moller told KPIX 5.

“Asking consent, receiving verbal consent. And the proceeding to having a good time,” he said.

Co-organizer Tashrima Hussein agreed, saying: “The notion is that regardless of whether it’s a platonic or non-platonic interaction, consent on both sides is really important to know that it’s pleasurable and appreciative for all.”

The annual tradition first began in the early 1900s and involved male seniors hunting down freshmen women during the first full moon of the year, and delivering their first kiss from an upperclassmen, KPIX reports.

“It’s a lot of excitement,” Hussein said of finding someone to smooch.

“The event is still intended partially to encourage people to push their own boundaries and reexamine their comfort zone,” Moller added. “But [it’s] now structured in a way that allows students to do that exploration for themselves rather than feeling pressured to kiss people by bright lights and a dance-floor-like setting.”


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