Students Start SPANKK Club

Matthew Korb '14, Editor-in-Chief

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Members of the new SPANKK club talking during their first official meeting in the Spectrum House.

Members of the new SPANKK club talking during their first official meeting in the Spectrum House.

There were already people sitting in the Spectrum house at 5:45 p.m. Most of the club’s members already knew one another and began to chat amongst themselves while they waited for the meeting to start. One made a joke about a board game. Another asked a friend about making a cake. As more students began to arrive, the executive board broke away from the group to start dividing up chairs and sections of the floor for the new arrivals.

The club meeting began promptly at 6:03 p.m. For the first ten minutes everyone settled in and introduced themselves. After formalities, one of the group’s founders stood up and introduced the topic for this meeting’s debate: BDSM and its portrayal in society.

The debate on March 4 was the first official meeting of SPANKK, or Students Promoting an Active Network of Kinky Knowledge. The new organization was approved by Student Senate on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

The club was originally started in the Fall 2011 semester by Suri Smith ’13, Espirt Basner ’15 and Sara Raab ’13. The founding members established the group to help promote a safe and supportive environment for people who enjoy alternative sexual practices at Dickinson College.

Called the Discreet Club when it was first established, the group did not seek recognition from Student Senate for their first year, preferring instead to host unofficial meetings not aligned with the school. The unofficial group drew in most of their members through word of mouth and small posters placed around campus. The founders of the group only started the process to become an official club in the Fall 2012 semester after attendance and activity began to rise.

“The people coming to those meetings showed us that we needed to be recognized,” said Raab. At the club’s first official meeting, over a dozen people sat in for the entire discussion, a number the founders say is average.

The group was initially worried about how Student Senate would react when it asked for support. However, during the initial review and eventual voting, both Student Senate and Community and Organization Review Committee (CORC) showed support for the group.

“I thought [SPANKK] was a great opportunity for people with an interest in BDSM to feel like they were accepted,” said Connor Shields ’14, a student senator and CORC member who helped oversee the club’s evaluation. “I don’t want to see students feel like they are isolated or that they would be ousted as someone who is interested in BDSM. I want to see students be supportive and feel that they can safely be themselves.”

Currently the group plans to continue to host its weekly discussions on topics related to BDSM and alternative culture. The group hopes to use its new status and funding to hold a dance, called Dungeons & Drag Queens, organize a social event with Spectrum and invite speakers from the BDSM community.

“The whole point of the group is to raise awareness and dispel rumors,” said Basner. “By the time I graduate I want people to know about [BDSM] and accept it.”
The club holds open meetings every Monday at 6 p.m. in the first floor of the Spectrum House on West Louther Street. For more information, contact the group at [email protected]