We Hear You: A Student’s Thoughts on the Administration’s Response to Recent Protests
By: Cat Hosch
Southwestern has entered the worldwide conversation of sexual assault. A month ago, students took to the streets with signs protesting the administration’s response to allegations of drugged drinks and sexual misconduct. The administration held forums for students to voice their opinions and comment upon the changes they wish to see in how Southwestern may bring an end to sexual misconduct.
Throughout the march, the forums, and the various conversations, members of the administration, the police department, and student congress repeated an important phrase–“We hear you.”
President Burger sent out an emailed response on March 1, stating the administration’s wish to create a safer environment for students. On March 3, following a meeting of the University’s Title IX committee, the administration sent an email that detailed how they planned to respond to the protests. Since the committee’s response, the administration has published two “Updates to the Community,” and all three documents may be found on Southwestern’s Title IX Committee webpage: http://www.southwestern.edu/titleix/committee/.
The administration is no longer inviting back the comedy group, “Sex Signals,” as many students felt such a seminar inappropriate. Also, in order to apply for housing, students must take the Haven course that teaches students about what sexual assault is, and how to respond to dangerous situations or reports of sexual assault. Southwestern is required to have an educational module by the Campus SaVE Act. Having participated in both programs, I agree with the administration’s response to implement Haven instead of the comedy group. Sexual assault is a serious matter, and should be treated as such. Haven is an online course, which does take some time to complete, but frankly I’d rather spend a little of my time completing a required sexual assault course each semester than see one of my friends get hurt.
The administration promised to look into what information they may legally disclose about investigations of sexual assault to the student body. I respect this decision, and I will respect whatever information they choose to disclose, and whatever information they keep private. I draw the line when the right to privacy of all parties involved is violated.
Throughout this month the school has hosted a number of forums and training seminars to educate students further about safety. My only regret was that I had previous engagements during the times of these various events, so I was unable to attend. The school also offered a self-defense course for women. While I am grateful such a course was offered, I hope another may be offered in the near future that is open for both men and women. I feel all students may benefit from these courses, no matter their gender.
The Lacrosse teams had a NoMore display at their games earlier this month. I would very much like to thank both Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse teams for doing this.
Both the sororities and fraternities on campus canceled the controversial Serenade event. While I am not involved in Greek Life, I appreciate their efforts to create a safe and supportive environment for all students. Also, the Greek organizations implemented the “Guest Lists” to provide safer environments when alcohol is being served. While the “Guest Lists” were not met with thunderous applause, I am thankful for the effort the administration, police force, and Greek organizations are making to keep students safe.
I believe firmly in the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Assault of any kind violates these rights. When a man or woman is assaulted, their liberty is taken from them, their happiness is denied them, and their lives are forever changed.
Our country’s justice system is not perfect. However, Southwestern has joined a conversation to make a change. Both Southwestern administration and students agree that assault is inexcusable, and I look forward to a much safer future.