Students present views on relationships at open discussion forum


Sam Ortega

Ethnic studies major Trenton Patterson participates as a member of an all-male panel that discussed relationships from the male perspective on Monday evening in the SAC ballroom.

Matthew Hart

Forming and maintaining healthy relationships could be a bit more complex than students may realize — or perhaps just as outrageous as a panel of all male UT students made it out to be Monday night.

A moderator confronted the panel with questions based off of themes and motives drawn from the book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.” The forum was the second of the subject matter held at the Student Activities Center, and stirred up controversy and laughter from an audience of UT students.

The male students were first asked to classify themselves into a variety of possible titles some of which included “the player,” “the mama’s boy” and “the happier single guy.” After a brief introduction of the panel, heated discussions and moments of truth followed.

Most of the questions involved the underlying tendency of college students to shield themselves from the opposite sex. Female students wanted to expose the vulnerabilities some of the male panel seemed to withhold. 

When asked whether or not a woman can change a man, management senior Neil Tanner said getting to know your partner is beneficial. 

“There are certain factors in a relationship that women can change,” Tanner said. “It really comes down to knowing that person, understanding the core of the relationship and understanding how to bring out the best in them.”

Devin Hicks, business administration graduate student, said changing one’s man should not be a concern. 

“If you go into a relationship with the intention of changing your guy, you’ve already started on the wrong foot,” Hicks said.

Other questions pertained to what men really think about. Ethnic studies senior Cameron Hunt said many college students aren’t thinking about a serious relationship right now.

“I’m not thinking about finding my soul mate. I’m just trying to get my life together,” Hunt said. “I don’t have time to dedicate my life to that kind of stuff.” 

The forum ended with a question regarding the legitimacy of titles in a relationship. The panel discussed whether women get too caught up in titles and how to determine when a relationship is exclusive enough for “dating” to be an appropriate term. Hicks said communication is necessary to avoid confounding and conflicting uses of the term.

“Are we together, are we talking, are we exclusive or are we not?” Hicks said. “There needs to be communication. If one thinks they are in a relationship and the other thinks they are just talking, then there is a problem.”