Take Back the Campus: An Alumna’s Perspective

This past weekend I returned to my Alma mater, filled with excitement and nostalgia, to present a workshop on dichotomized sexuality. After the exhilarating experience of educating fellow youth, I attended another workshop on masculinity. The adrenaline high from my own workshop wore off as current students began to express frustration over lack of action by the administration in recent sexual assault cases. One female student last semester reported sexual assault, went to the sexual grievances board, and was told there was “lack of evidence”. The perpetrator was let off with no consequences and proceeded to sexually assault another student that weekend. The first female student left campus and the male has since fled campus. This means that he can not be punished in any way.

Another student in the workshop expressed anxiety over being approached by fellow female students wanting help to advise their friends on how to handle sexual assault. One female student is being repeatedly assaulted by a male student who lives in the same house.

I sat in the workshop with 4 other alumni/ae, all of which were completely appalled to hear the administration had yet again failed to act in the way we would hope. The fact that students feel the administration is unapproachable is absolutely unacceptable.

In Jessica Valenti’s recent article, she highlights this serious issue of campus administrations not reporting true statistics of sexual assault and rape. To think not only of the cases that go unreported to the police by the administration, but also the cases that go unreported to the administration by students is terrifying. It is so brave of the women coming forward to report their perpetrators and I would urge people to go to the police, simply because the administration won’t.

I’m sick of hearing that students don’t know what goes on behind the scenes or that there is “bureaucracy” and “politics” to consider. We fucking know. This does not take away from the fact that no one should have to sit in a classroom, walk by in the hall, or live in the same fucking house as someone who has violated their body and safety.

I urge EVERYONE to become active on their college campuses, whether you are a current student or alumni/ae. Since money drives a lot of administrative decisions, alums can make it clear to the alumni program that you were planning on donating X amount over the next few years and now will not until significant steps are made (e.g., rewriting sexual assault policy, accurately reporting statistics, workshops for students, etc.). We have to USE OUR VOICE and TAKE ACTION.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

Masters student in Houston; hoping for a career in the nonprofit sector doing feminist activism and organizing.

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