3D protest

Dam Diverse Dance, known as 3D, stands on the stage at Take Back the Night 2019 in silent protest of their dis invitation to perform at the event. 

Instead of performing on stage at Take Back the Night last Thursday, Dam Diverse Dance, or 3D, stood in silent protest of their disinvitation from the event due to the alleged labeling of their intended performance as too ‘sexual.’

3D is a dance group aiming to give women of color the opportunity to embrace themselves and their culture through dance. Members of the group said this opportunity was hindered when they were excluded from performing at Take Back the Night, an annual event aiming to end sexual assault, claiming their performance was labeled too sexual by Judy Neighbours, director of the Survivor and Advocacy Resource Center.

The change of program caused conflict between 3D members and coordinators of the event, eventually leading to Isadora Costa Cardoso, director and creator of 3D, feeling forced to resign from her position at ASOSU for denying their request for her to apologize to Neighbours.

Neighbours said the decision to cut 3D from the event was not due to the content of their performance or discrimination. According to Neighbours, the committee’s decision was due to the stage being too small to accomodate 3D’s performance, and the event had a focus on spoken word.

“This was a SARC decision based upon our vision in organizing a safe place for folks to speak up and learn about the impact of sexual violence,” Neighbours said.

She also said after the conflict between the two parties, she offered to allow them to perform at another event, but 3D denied this offer.

3D protest

Dam Diverse Dance, also known as 3D, walks off the stage following their silent protest on stage at Take Back the Night 2019.

In winter 2019, 3D accepted an invitation from the planning committee of Take Back the Night to perform at the event. During a meeting in a Student Health Services conference room to discuss the details of 3D’s performance and they layout of the venue, Maddie Hansen, graduate assistant at SARC, informed 3D that they would need to change their intended performance. According to the members of 3D, Hansen told the group that Neighbours said the performance was too sexual and inappropriate and would need to be altered.

Costa Cardoso said she decided the group would not dance at the event if they were going to be required to change their choreography, as it felt like changing their identity to fit someone else’s definition of what a survivor should look or act like. According to Costa Cardoso, Hansen said she would talk with Neighbours and make sure 3D would be able to perform without changing the choreography. However, Costa Cardoso soon received an email from Hansen informing her 3D would not be performing at Take Back the Night due to a decision by a vetting committee.

During a meeting with the TBTN planning committee to discuss why their performance was cut, Costa Cardoso said she found out Neighbours was the one who ultimately decided the group would not perform. Costa Cardoso said the group began to speculate about the reasoning for cutting their performance upon realizing Neighbours had made the decision, due to the previous comments that were relayed to them by Hansen. Additionally, at the meeting, 3D said both Neighbours and Hansen claimed to have never said the group’s performance was too sexual or inappropriate.

Hansen did not respond to a request for comment on if she heard and relayed Neighbours’ comment on 3D’s performance.

Josey Koehn, ASOSU coordinator of Wellness Affairs, was in the same SHS conference room when the team’s initial performance was initially discussed, and said she heard Hansen tell Costa Cardoso that 3D’s performance had been found to be too sexual and suggest the choreography be changed.

“My memory of this conversation is distinct, because as soon as that comment was said, I knew it was not the message that should be spread by an organization that aims to help survivors,” Koehn said.

Neighbours said she has never seen 3D’s intended performance for Take Back the Night, which was submitted via video, and never called 3D’s performance too sexual or inappropriate. She said that those phrases promote victim-blaming and distract from the real causes of sexual assault and would go directly against the office’s intentions to aid survivors.

“One of the primary goals of our office is to help survivors recover from their assault, and many times that includes us trying to help the survivor understand that they did nothing to cause the assault. Being sexy is not ever a cause for sexual assault,” Neighbours said.

Costa Cardoso received a letter threatening her employment at ASOSU if she did not write an official apology to Neighbours for speaking to her in a supposedly unprofessional manner while in a professional setting, in addition to other infractions. Costa Cardoso refused to write the letter of apology and thus felt forced to resign.

In the same letter, Costa Cardoso was reprimanded for having her ASOSU title below her name in email communications and using her work email for personal matters and was ordered to stop. Costa Cardoso said this order stemmed from ASOSU’s displeasure with her using her work title in her signature during her email correspondence with Hansen and Neighbours, although she was using her ONID email.  

Drew Desilet, ASOSU faculty advisor, said he is unable to comment on Costa Cardoso’s required apology or the end of her employment at ASOSU due to employee confidentiality. Desilet was able to explain that situations with employees are handled uniquely each time.

“ASOSU uses a progressive discipline model when working with employees and that model will be applied differently for each situation,” Desilet said.

Neighbours said she was not aware of the required apology and feels such a requirement is unwarranted.

Costa Cardoso said she began 3D to find community and allow women of color to express themselves, but the actions of the Take Back the Night committee has hindered this goal.

Costa Cardoso said 3D’s protest on-stage was not meant to demean the Take Back the Night event and the meaning it holds for survivors. The group traveled to Portland State University to perform at their Take Back the Night. According to Costa Cardoso, the group wanted to be able to represent themselves and not let injustice go unnoticed. She said there are survivors within 3D and she wanted them to be able to perform.

“Not being able to perform at that event is erasing our voices,” Costa Cardoso said.

Costa Cardoso said while 3D waited to accompany one of their members who was speaking to stand on stage in protest, and while they were on stage she could see an officer nearby with a hand on the gun holstered at their hip. The dancers felt they were being watched closely by the officers at the event.

The Department of Public Safety did not respond to a request for comment.

Although the disagreements between 3D and the Take Back the Night committee began due to their routine being called too sexual and inappropriate, Costa Cardoso believes the issues 3D faces with the committee run much deeper. As a group with many identities, she said they face many kinds of discrimination.

“As an intersectional group, we face intersectional issues,” Costa Cardoso said.

3D protest

Members of Dam Diverse Dance, known as 3D, stand in a circle hugging. According to Isadora Costa Cardoso, creator and director of 3D, the group hug was prompted by a feeling of intimidation before and during their silent protest due to the presence of armed officers, who they felt were watching them. 

Clarification: In the April 29, 2019 issue of The Daily Barometer, this photo was used. The caption has been updated online to reflect the true context of the photo. 

Neighbours maintained her position that cutting 3D’s performance was due only to the logistics of getting 3D on stage and the incongruity of their performance with the theme of other performances.

Steve Clark, vice president of University Relations and Marketing, said as he understands it, 3D did not perform at take back the night for two reasons only: for safety and format. Due to the stage being too small, Clark said the dancers would have performed at crowd level which may have led to an unsafe viewing experience. Additionally, the dance performance did not fit the format of the event as it focused on speakers, according to Clark.

Clark said he is unable to comment on the reported employee matters due to university policy, but emphasizes that employees are encourage to give input on their concerns and will not face retaliation for doing so.

“[I]t is the practice of the university to engage progressively with all employees to address concerns and aid an employee's continued growth and success,” Clark said.

(8) comments

ConstanceP

Protesting a survivor’s event? No, that’s not selfish at all and I’m not being sarcastic. No I’m not.....wait, yes I am......

I’ve heard horror stories of these girls going around bullying and being disgusting to anyone who won’t bend to their demands. Maybe you should write about that.

LogicalThinker

Thanks for this article. Kind of beside the point, but this article is confusingly written lol. I’m confused about the chronology of events. Anyway, thanks for reporting, but I would definitely have you all look into some of the stuff I’ve heard about this group and members as well. I’ve heard of some toxic and blatantly mean things about this group, usually using social justice to belittle and attack people. I’m not going to go into specifics on here, but would encourage you to do some investigative reporting! Thanks again tho!

JayneMalibu

Not sure about the "horror story" rumors the previous comments are refusing to elaborate on, but I know these women have been through so much adversity on this campus and time and time again people jump to side with anyone else in every situation because of their own underlying racism and biases.
3D provides space and support for intersectional identities that have to bear the weight of whiteness on this campus...the micro-aggressions add up and even the macro-aggressions go ignored.
I stand by them and if you aren't, re-evaluate your reasoning.

ameliearden

Hmm... I have not heard any reports of these women being demanding or anything of that nature- I believe I know what incidents you are referring to, but from what I know, those comments have been rumors and exaggerations. I would suggest to you all to cite incidents and prove these accusations because these types of comments and rumors are exactly what 3D has been fighting against. For women of color to speak out against injustices and problematic experiences on a predominantly white campus and be consistently called too aggressive and demanding or horror stories- is exactly the response that women of color perpetually get from white institutions when speaking about injustices and I would hope you all consider that.

ConstanceP

I’m a person of color and I know that while these people may be people of color it does not permit their behavior. They have belittled and demeaned other people of color on this campus too so what does that mean? Talk to other people of color about their experiences with some members of this group. Talk about the colorism depicted in this group. They are fighting against many situations that they create. They make situations and get upset when people respond, only to turn around and say they are fighting an issue that they themselves created! That’s BS. Support people who have real issues going on, not some made up narratives created by attention seeking folk. I’m not speaking of rumors. These are facts that can be supported with more thorough interviews and reporting. I will not support selfishness and entitlement. Maybe some of you need to reevaluate why you support them and if it’s because of their false activism fighting, what a shame.

beaverwithafeaver77

Thank you for sharing your feelings/thoughts. I am also a person of color (the fact that I have to state that in order for my experiences to be validated is dumb) and I have seen the way that the leader of 3D's toxic behavior has affected many communities on campus. I think 3D is a valuable group to have on campus because it creates a space of community and belonging for WOC. Many of the women are fierce advocates for changing the culture on campus, but the leaders of the group have continued to exclude people of multiple identities that don't agree with their viewpoints. Some of them have called other POC "bad allies" and "white passing" for not agreeing with them and this severely discredits the identities that POC face and their experiences. It gatekeeps social justice spaces, categorizes who is considered oppressed, and excludes people from feeling safe in their own communities. The director specifically has accused Dam Chic of being racist for not doing a feature in their magazine, has driven members away from the Latin American society when she was President and treated people badly (to the point where she was asked to leave) when she was a CRF. It's crappy to claim that you're fighting for justice when you're contributing to a system of oppression towards people in your own community.

ameliearden

Can you actually specify these situations that you keep insisting have occurred, Constance? Because you are being exceptionally vague and suggest that "interviewing people" and talking to other people of color will reveal these situations, however I still am unsure as to what you are really referring to here. I appreciate that you bring up colorism, but again, specify what exactly you mean by that because all backgrounds of women of color are represented and elevated through 3D- and if you do have something to point out there, then it would be great to hear about it, and I am sure 3D would be receptive to it as well.
These women have "real" issues going on and for you to consistently insist that there are not real issues behind this, without indicating what you are actually speaking of feels suspicious and invalidating.
I personally choose to stand by 3D knowing exactly how they are consistently treated on campus. I am also a person of color, and I would really appreciate you evidencing your claims because I, and the people of color I know have had nothing but positive interactions with this group so I would like to understand what you are referring to.

BL3

Hey, I tried to elaborate on some instances, but it looks like my post didn’t go through (maybe it violated defamation rules with OMN), so I’ll just say as well that there are many instances in which this group has participated in behavior that should be condemned by the OSU community. They use their advocacy as a shield so that if you say anything bad about them, you are suddenly cast as hating all minorities. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I even feel uncomfortable speaking out against them. I feel that the social justice community that they are a part of is one that alienates and attacks other people. It’s sad, because I believe in advocacy and want to lift others up. I will not do so in the way that this group does though. I do not believe in victim blaming, and this article is sad to read if true. I would like everyone to recognize though that no matter if you’re part of the LGBTQ community, a POC, transgender, or another minority, you can’t just be mean to everyone. That’s not how progress works. That’s not how we lift each other up.

Welcome to the discussion.

Commenting Policy Orange Media Network acknowledges every individual’s right to free speech as protected by the First Amendment, and celebrates the open and honest exchange of ideas. While the goal of the comment section is to further community conversation and engagement on the various topics covered by Orange Media Network, we strive to foster a civil and respectful discourse for all participants. All user comments are manually reviewed by staff members before they appear live on the website. Our full policy is available here: http://www.orangemedianetwork.com/site/social_media_commenting_policy.html