What is the KU Men’s Action Project?
The KU Men’s Action Project is a multi-week, cohort-based program intended to facilitate dialogue encouraging and challenging participants to critically examine masculine norms in the campus community, discuss the systemic connections between traditional masculinity and sexual violence, and addresses unhealthy expressions of masculinity that harm women, men, and other folx. This approach focuses on participants creating personal definitions of healthy masculinity and learning how they can take an active role in the prevention of sexual violence in their communities.
Sexual violence prevention efforts have recently shifted from engaging men as potential offenders to engaging them as allies and leaders in violence prevention. In 2017, the Sexual Assault Prevention & Education Center (SAPEC) at the University of Kansas launched the KU Men's Action Project. The program draws upon promising practices in men's engagement from other univerisities, public health providers, and non-profit organizations focused committed to gender-transformative practices. Participants in the program have included football and basketball student-athletes, student leaders, fraternity members, and other men/masculine folx committed to change.
Men’s Action Project Learning Outcomes
These programs are intended to prepare participants to:
- Recognize unhealthy aspects of masculinity that are harmful to the self and others;
- empathize with others and develop self-compassion;
- connect systems of oppression with violence against women;
- support gender equity and other forms of equity;
- replace harmful, risky, and violent masculine attitudes and behaviors with emotionally intelligent attitudes and behaviors that respect the self and others; and
- learn and use emotional and social skills to constructively challenge unhealthy masculine attitudes and behaviors expressed by others.
Adapted from Men Can Stop Rape’s Health Masculinity Action Project
The KU Men's Action Project is open to any undergraduate or graduate student who identify as men. This includes men/masculine folx whose gender identity, expression, and/or biological sex align with man, masculine, and/or male or otherwise have a nexus to masculinity. Cisgender, trans*, genderqueer, and gender non-binary folx who are interested are encouraged to apply.
Are you a student interested in applying? Please complete the application here.
Are you a faculty, staff, or student who would like to nominate a student for this program? Please complete the nomination form here.
Would you like more information on this program? Please contact SAPEC staff member Dustin Struble.
KU Men's Action Project was featured in an article and segment by NPR entitled "On a Kansas College Campus, A Search For a 21st-Century Sense of Masculinity."
Other notable contributions were made by Mauricio Gómez Montoya, PhD student; Caleb Stephens, LMSW; Reggie Jackson, LSCSW; Anthony Boynton, PhD student; and members of the Men's Action Project Advisory Board.