Action needed on Southern’s Sexual Assault Policy
Vivian Englund – Opinions Editor
In the fall of 2013, over 100 students rallied for justice for Southern graduate, Wendy Wyler. Wyler claimed in a lawsuit that music professor, David Chevan, sexually harassed her.
The university’s reaction was all too familiar in the fact that they failed to fire Chevan. Even after Wyler filed a lawsuit and Chevan was found to have violated Title IX, the university still failed to fire him.
Title IX is a law that prohibits gender-based discrimination, like sexual assault on college campuses.
Any school found of violating Title IX, is subject to losing any and all federal funding.
So what does this act alone say for Southern’s sexual assault policies?
For starters, Southern shares the same policy with all Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU).
The “Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Violence Policy” states that “Each and every BOR [The Board of Regents for Higher Education] governed college or university shall provide those who report sexual misconduct with many supportive options, including referral to agencies that provide medical attention, counseling, legal services, advocacy, referrals and general information regarding sexual assault.”
This excerpt from the policy itself says that the universities need to take precautions when one of their students experiences sexual assault or harassment of any kind.
It is astonishing that even though the university is supposed to comply with the policy, they failed to do so.
Southern, however, is not the only university that faces difficulties in sticking to their policy regarding sexual assault.
In the fall of 2013, Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz filed a sexual assault complain against a fellow student.
That same year, 22 other students filed complaints regarding the university’s mishandling of their situations TIME.
Columbia’s refusal to acknowledge Sulkowicz fueled her to being the “Carry that Weight” campaign, which went viral.
The project entailed Sulkowicz carrying a mattress everywhere she went on campus until her rapist was expelled. It was also her senior visual arts thesis.
As Sulkowicz just graduated this past year, she carried the mattress onto the stage as she received her diploma; signifying that her rapist was still not expelled.
According to TIME, there was a study done on college campuses that found that male perpetrators are more often than not repeat offenders. The average number that they assault would be six.
Rape culture on college campuses is something that is all too common. The number of students, specifically women that will experience sexual assault in one form or another is far too high.
So why is it that universities have all of these policies if they cannot seem to abide by them?
Why is it that universities that do not abide by the Title IX law are not getting their funding pulled?
We need to have justice for every single student that has been silenced and discouraged by their university. It is time that universities begin taking responsibility and providing the services that they legally promise its students they do.
Photo Credit: Staff Photo