Professors Give Love Lines Talk

This year marks the return of the Love Lines talk that features a panel of professors answering any “love/sex” questions anonymously submitted by students.

Love lines was hosted by the First Response Team in the common room of Queen Anne and the panel included husband and wife, Professor Jennifer Cognard-Black (JCB), and Professor Andrew Cognard-Black (ACB). JCB and ACB ended up participating in the panel when JCB was asked by one of her students who is a part of the First Response Team. “One of the peer advocates is in my Women Word Literature course, and asked me if I would be willing to do the panel. Given that I had worked hard to see that sexual assault programming be supported on campus ever since I arrived at St. Mary’s, I definitely wanted to assist the Peer Advocate in any way I could,” said JCB.

ACB got involved, naturally through JCB. She asked him if he would be willing to participate due to the fact that the two of them used to give panels back in graduate school on issues that would again be brought up during Love Lines.

Originally the panel was meant to be made up of more faculty then just the Cognard-Blacks, however the faculty members who were asked decided that they would rather not appear on the panel. “ [When asked to do the panel] Andrew said ‘sure’; all other faculty said ‘no way’. So we wound up being the only two who said ‘okay.’” said JCB.

Love Lines ended up being a type of discussion group, with JCB and ACB sitting at the top and students forming a big circle around them. Members of the First Response team took turns pulling questions out of a box that had been set in the campus center. The questions ranged from sexual to relationship advice. JCB also thought that the questions were of a rather mixed variety. “I thought many were honest, some were unclear, and a few were silly or meant to be shocking,” she said.

When answering the questions ACB and JCB gave both personal and academic advice. ACB, a Professor of Sociology, would relate his field of study to some of the questions, and JCB a Professor of English would relate questions to novels that she has read or taught.

Because of the personal nature of the questions it is understandable that those participating in it would feel reserved or uncomfortable about answering questions. However, JCB and ACB tried to be as open as they possibly could. “ Our only “fear” we had was that we didn’t want to expound on something we didn’t know a lot about,” said JCB.

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