Learn About/Subscribe:
Christian Union
February 24, 2016

Andrew Bean '17 Adds His Voice to the Conversation

by Eileen Scott, Senior Writer

andrew-beanWhen the American Association of Universities released a study about the sexual climate on 27 campuses around the country, Andrew Bean '17 thought the results were "horrifying."

The survey was designed "to assess the incidence, prevalence, and characteristics of incidents of sexual assault and misconduct" on campuses across the nation.

And after reading that an estimated 18 percent of Yale undergraduates reported an undesired sexual encounter involving force or incapacitation, this member of Christian Union's ministry at Yale knew it was a problem he wanted to address.

In the fall semester, Bean was invited by an assistant dean to discuss sexual violence on campus from the point of view of the Christian community.

The junior notes that being part of a thriving ministry community was encouraging going into the meeting with the dean. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of the Christian Union ministry fellows on campus, who are examples of what a mature life of faith can look like. In addition to directing weekly Bible courses for men and women in every class year, ministry fellows also meet one-on-one with a majority of the students for discipleship and coaching.

For the meeting with the dean, Bean was asked to invite other Christians; the group consisted of students from various campus ministries and Christian Union.

The conversation between the students and the Yale dean was productive, according to Bean. "We agreed on many of the basic premises which we felt were important to a healthy campus sexual climate," he said.

There was a consensus that the hookup culture on campus could be "very dangerous."

"Faith was the premise of the conversation," he said.

Bean and fellow believers sought to talk about ways in which Christian students—who are not participants in the hookup culture on campus—can be better supported by Yale, and not marginalized.

These very differences enable Christian students to offer compelling social and relational alternatives to the widespread outlook and behaviors that contribute to the hookup scene.

"Christian students can have very positive relationships with the administration if they are willing to recognize that the administration will always be decidedly pluralistic, and that appeals to moral truth are unlikely to be productive," Bean said.

As a result, Christian students will need to be especially creative in how they lead positive change in this area of campus life. While the students and administrator did not agree on every point, it was a positive step toward addressing the university's record of sexual violence.

Bean is also hopeful that more Christians at Yale will choose to engage the conversation about the hookup culture and sexual violence on campus.

"I think that Christian students often adopt a defensive mentality when they feel as though the only way to protect themselves from a culture they don't want to participate in is to be cloistered away from it all," said Bean. "But this approach leaves the cultural dialogue entirely unchecked and abandons those who may not be of faith, but who want to stand against the [hookup] culture."

So how ought a Christian respond to the sexual violence on campus, particularly if they choose to abstain from sexual relationships themselves? "It should be our goal to create a healthy sexual climate for every student, and that requires us to be active members of the campus," said Bean.