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Kissing tradition scaled back at elite college as #MeToo movement takes off: 'Vibe is shifting

Students smooch at Stanford's Full Moon on the Quad — an event that's been scaled back in the physicality department as the #MeToo movement has taken off. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

It's called Full Moon on the Quad — an annual tradition at Stanford University that started out long ago with freshmen women, under the year's first full moon, getting their first-ever kiss from senior males.

As you might guess, the tradition morphed over the decades into activities that went well beyond kissing — but in recent years that has taken a turn.

And now with the recent national attention on sexual harassment and assault as part of the #MeToo movement, changes to Full Moon on the Quad have taken on new significance, the Stanford Daily reported.

The practice of consent prior to kissing has been a big part of the event, as well as elements such as gratitude cards and white rose exchanges, students and officials told the paper.

Snehal Naik, associate dean and associate director of Student Activities and Leadership (SAL), added to the Daily that Full Moon on the Quad wasn't working prior to the changes.

“It had devolved into an event … we were not proud of planning,” Naik told the paper.

After the 2016 incarnation of the event came with reports of sexual assault and alcohol transports, the Daily said Naik penned a letter to the vice provost outlining his concerns about the tradition, noting that it had “gotten to an [untenable] point."

'You name it...'

“You name it; it happened at Full Moon on the Quad,” he added to the paper.

Additional changes came with last year's event, the Daily said, with it occurring on a later date to give new students more time to adjust to campus, students needing ID cards to enter the Quad and intoxicated students getting barred.

“Previous FMOTQs were shrouded in secrecy, where the frosh weren’t told what it was, but they knew they had to go to the Quad and that there was kissing involved,” Ralph Castro, associate dean of students and director of the Office of Alcohol Policy & Education (OAPE), told the paper. “It created a lot of social anxiety.”

The result of the last year's changes?

There were no alcohol transports at last year's event, which the Daily said was "unusual."

Also the emphasis on handing out mouthwash — which Miguel Taruc told the paper contributed to focus on kissing — is a thing of the past.

“The mouthwash table used to be like a bar, basically, where students would take shots of mouthwash,” he told the Daily. “That kind of vibe is shifting now.”

“The event is still intended partially to encourage people to push their own boundaries and re-examine their comfort zone but is 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,” junior class president Tony Moller told the Daily.

Carley Flanery, director of the Office of Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse, added to the paper that the new Full Moon on the Quad will encourage consent.

“[We want students] to be asked whether they want a photograph taken, to be hugged, to be kissed, whether or not they want a rose or card from someone,” she told the Daily. “Not only to be able to ask and hear a ‘yes’ back but also hear a ‘no’ is important. To hear a ‘maybe later’ and respect that gracefully, with dignity. Because that’s life.”

One last thing…
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