Letter: Lack of Sexual Violence Prevention Programs Shows Disconnect Between Administrators and Students

Letter: Lack of Sexual Violence Prevention Programs Shows Disconnect Between Administrators and Students


 

In recent years, certain actions implemented by the MSU administration have

attempted to silence the student voice across campus. With either a negative or

non-existent response to other student campaigns, these trends have continued

to limit student involvement as well as emphasize the evident disconnect between

students and university administration. However, to the dismay of the university,

a new type of problematic silence in regard to sexual assault has been brought to

public attention.

In addition to the public’s attention, the Department of Education Civil Rights

Office has also been alerted of Michigan State’s negligent response to the prevalent

issue of sexual assault on campus.

As a requirement, the university sent out a blast email with the vague subject

line “Letter To the MSU Community.” Almost comically, my Michigan State

email account labeled this as “junk.” Regardless, attached to this email, and

not specifically addressed in the email body, was a document describing a new

“collaboration” between the university and the Department of Education, as

worded by the university, to measure the university’s effective “heightened

awareness of student safety, with special emphasis on sexual violence.”

Oppositely and unannounced, this deceptive opportunity to meet with the OCR

was a preliminary step in the investigation of MSU.

Furthermore, the email attachment exhaustively lists any and all resources

available to students as a sort of test preparation for the students attending the

“collaborative” meeting. Not surprisingly, I, among various other students who

met with the OCR, have been unaware of these resources until the email due to

the lack of promotion by MSU.

Unfortunately, the only advertised form of sexual violence education known

to most students is the SARV program, which is carelessly “enforced” as a

“mandatory” program for freshmen. However, this is a problematic statement

within itself. In a culture present on our campus that promotes the idea of “don’t

get raped” instead of “don’t rape,” sexual assault education should not be limited

to only freshmen. This is an issue that prevails not only on campus with MSU

students, but off campus in student housing, downtown bars and even campus-

sponsored apartments, which focuses predominantly on upperclassmen.

With a statistic stating one in four students will be sexually assaulted by the

time they graduate, the demand for continuous sexual assault education as

well as promotion for on-campus resources should be happily endorsed by

the university. Our lack of knowledge concerning the now limited resources

provided on campus only further emphasizes disconnect between students and

the administration.

As a junior, the past three years spent at MSU have only highlighted the inherent

problems with disassociating campus policies from the student voice. The

exclusionary actions of the administration have degraded the students to an

image of walking dollar signs. This image has been exemplified in the university’s

cavalier attempt of combatting sexual assault; instead of an honest approach

to the issue, Michigan State will choose to defend its reputation of being a

respectable university even at the expense of students’ safety. For a university

that promotes standing together, our silence has never pushed us farther apart.


Lauren Gann, Supply chain management junior, Representing MSU Students

United

In Solidarity: MSU Students United, MSU Women’s Council, MSU Students for

Choice students Marie Rose, Cayley Winters, Alicia Geniac, Katilin Powers,

Ariel Tausk, Zoe Jackson

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