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Posts Tagged: campus issues

My Clarion Call

I am nearing the end of my Domestic Exchange at Barnard College in New York, NY. One of the more memorable experiences I had during the exchange was the New Student Orientation Program (NSOP). I felt like I was reliving my freshman year at Spelman College. All throughout, I was comparing my NSOP experiences. In a joint talk with Barnard College and Columbia College students, faculty members went over policies about sexual assault and sexual harassment. They discussed the steps that campus safety and the police will take. They also discussed the multiple ways that students can access counseling services and primary care health services. They stressed anonymity and safety of the student body. I was astounded to see two active student organizations that address sexual assault. Students Active For… Read more »

Carrying That Weight Beyond a Day of Action

I am currently on Domestic Exchange at Barnard College, literally located across the street from Columbia University. Since the schools are located across the street from one another, we share the amenities, classes, and friendships. In essence, what happens on their campus is inseparable from our campus. On Wednesday, October 29, 2014, students and faculty from various college campuses will carry mattresses.  If they are unable to carry mattresses, supporters can carry pillows. Why? The purpose of the demonstration is to show solidarity with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence in a day of action called Carry that Weight. Sexual assault according to SafeHorizon, an organization working to empower victims of crimes of abuses, “is a general term that includes: rape, incest, child molestation, marital rape, date rape, sexual harassment,… Read more »

Bridging Identities In The Newsroom

Being a journalism major at Texas State University, I look forward to the third week in October because every year it is designated as Mass Communication Week. Throughout the week mass comm professionals from all concentrations including journalism, advertising, public relations, and multimedia gather at my university to tell stories and share advice from within the professional world. I attended many presentations, but the one that I was most excited to attend was titled, “LGBT and media coverage/ Diversity in the newsroom.” Having attended two mass comm weeks prior to this one it was the first time that I remember there being a specific space given to queer journalists. The discussion was led by two people, Austin-American Statesman columnist Michael Barnes, and Texas State journalism student and University Star writer, Ernest… Read more »

Treat Yo’ Self: Activist Self-Care

Working to create heal communities and comfortable spaces for everyone can be draining and we need to make sure we are making time for ourselves so that we don’t burn out. You’re doing amazing work, just don’t forget to treat yourself once in a while. This past weekend my friends hosted a feminist brunch where we were able to talk about all of the stresses of activism and living in patriarchal society. We talked about everything from how Emma Watson’s feminism speech for the UN didn’t quite do us justice, how all the white boy organizers love Chris Crass and why some of us are not on board with his allyship, and about how we can keep spaces feminist within organizing while still being inclusive. As activists who are constantly devoting ourselves to… Read more »

In Florida, Students’ Safety Should be More Important than Sports

Florida has a reputation for a few things—citrus, hurricanes, Gator World, and, unfortunately, our lack of investigations on college sexual assault. I’m referring specifically to the Florida State University’s case involving star football player Jameis Winston. A little refresher on the case: a female FSU student reported that she was sexually assaulted in December 2012. She did not know the name of her attacker, but realized it was Winston, who had not played in any football games yet, when she saw him in class. In February 2013, after barely any investigation, Tallahassee police shelved the case. What happened next is a little more well-known. After nine months of sitting on information, Tallahassee police gave the state attorney the report. They started an investigation, but it seemed as though Florida State… Read more »

College students need sex ed, too

I would guess that most students who arrive on a college campus as freshman did not receive comprehensive sex education in middle or high school. While most of us learned about sexually-transmitted infections in the classroom, it’s also the case that for most of us, our sex education was either abstinence-only or at least elevated abstinence from sex as the universal best choice. There are lots of other numbers to throw around: about a third of people in their late teens don’t receive any formal education about birth control, and even if they do, only a fourth of them know anything substantial about the Pill. In a standard high school sex ed course  ̶  if you get one at all, and considering that less than half of all states mandate… Read more »

Protect This House: Women Deserve Safe Campuses

Just in time for a return back to campus, the past two weeks has featured a number of headlines about sexual violence against women: a nail polish that detects one of the most common date rape drugs, the calculated hacking and release of dozens of celebrities’ nude photos from their iCloud accounts, a student at Columbia University who is protesting the school’s lack of justice about her rape by carrying around a mattress, and another university that deemed community service too harsh a punishment for a man who raped another student. Regardless of whether she is a senior who has spent the past three years on campus learning to avoid fraternity houses after dark or a freshman joking with her new classmates that her dad bought her a pink can… Read more »

What’s right and mostly wrong with “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.”

A little over a week ago, the annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event was put on by the Interfraternity Council (IFC) at Wichita State University. If you’re not familiar with these events, you can read about them here. This year marked the fourth consecutive year I’ve attended this event. The past three years I was a participant in the walk, with considerable support from friends and my wife. Each year I noticed more and more problems with this event in general, as I became more aware and as I engaged in discussions about the event with people much smarter than me. This year I decided to take on a different role. Our student-led URGE group likes to have a table there, to offer resources and information to those… Read more »

What Fighting Sexual Assault Looks Like on My Campus

It’s no surprise to anyone even halfway paying attention to the news as of late that campus sexual assault is a buzzy topic right now. From the release of 55 universities under investigation by the federal government, to the viral picture of an alumni refusing to donate until their alma mater addresses sexual assault, to college students posting a rapist list of students who were found guilty yet never charged—sexual assault on campuses is causing a huge national discussion. Much of this media attention is credited to the White House itself assembling a task force on sexual assault. In April, the White House released a report on how campuses can combat sexual assault. These guidelines, and the task force recommendations (as well as the reason the White House even assembled… Read more »

Campus Safety “Tips”: Outdated, Out of Touch, and Dangerous

Looking at the typical “Campus Safety Tips” is an adventure through every rape myth imaginable.  Not only do these tips reinforce outdated thoughts about sexual assault, they ignore the one fact that cannot be repeated enough. Most victims of sexual assault know the perpetrator, whether it be a friend or an acquaintance.  The mythical man in the bushes outside your window or the creepy man in the alley are the least of most victims’ worries. It is the people whom you know and let your guard down around who are the most likely to violate your trust. Somehow, many universities fail to acknowledge this risk and treat sexual assault no different than being mugged. With that in mind, I looked at campus safety tips from colleges and universities from around… Read more »