The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday May 16th

Women’s and gender studies class maps out catcalls at UNC

Anondo Banerjee was part of a women’s studies special topics class in fall 2014 that revolved around the intersection of art and activism.

“We were pretty certain that catcalling was a fairly widespread thing at UNC but wanted to make sure that people would be OK talking about it,” Banerjee said.

The project began on a piece of canvas mapping the locations of catcalling incidents at UNC, and then the students worked with Davis Library Research Hub staff to create an online version through geographic information systems software, Banerjee said. The online version allows students to add more points and describe incidents.

GIS librarian Amanda Henley worked with the students to adapt their project using mapping software.

“I thought it was a really interesting idea that they had, and, you know, it raises awareness,” Henley said.

People have contributed to the map since the project, and some have gone in and added anonymous descriptions, Henley said. The areas with the most points are Franklin Street and North Campus.

Banerjee said the map was open to students who had experienced catcalling in a certain location or had witnessed it happening to someone else.

“There were a few spots on the map that were kind of disappointing, like in front of the hospital,” Banerjee said. “But nothing was surprising.”

Banerjee said the project got a few responses from men and women who said catcalling was not a big deal. However, most students were happy students undertook the project, he said.

“People who came to stop by and see what it was — their reactions were mostly positive,” Banerjee said.

Henley said the research hub, which opened in fall 2014, has advice-giving librarians and a lot of resources for students to use.

The hub has the equipment needed for students to create and share GIS projects.

“It’s good to have these projects that kind of shed a light on what we’re able to help people with,” Henley said.

Sophomores Emily Wagner and Tatum Auvil said they have both experienced catcalling. Both said the map is something they would likely update.

Auvil said she thinks catcalling happens more frequently on Franklin Street.

“It’s more at night, I feel like, when people feel more confident around their friends, I guess,” she said.

Banerjee said what he took from the project was that while students feel safe on North Campus, they’re more likely to receive unwanted attention in the area.

“On North Campus, you’re around more people, so you can feel safer,” Banerjee said. “But it’s places with more people where people will get catcalled.”


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