I’ve been trying to figure out how to start off this post and I’m not sure I’ll do better than the Hartford Courant: “A former Wesleyan University student who was assaulted two years ago during a Halloween fraternity party filed a federal lawsuit Friday accusing the school of failing to protect her from dangers at [Beta Theta Pi] fraternity, which she claims was known on campus as the ‘Rape Factory.’ ” In an extremely brief article, the Courant notes that one ‘Jane Doe’ of Maryland has filed a 27-page lawsuit in the US District Court of Connecticut, alleging that the University violated Title IX by failing to “warn or otherwise take corrective action” against the fraternity that could have prevented the assault.
As many of you may know, Beta was the primary subject of some controversy very recently, as the University, in the midst of a smoldering disagreement with Beta, changed its housing policy to specifically declare that “Wesleyan students will be prohibited from residing in—or using for social activities—houses or property owned, leased or operated by private societies that are not recognized by the University,” which essentially meant that the University could punish you for eating dinner at a ‘unrecognized’ church, or secret society, or a cupcake shop, or a strip club, or pretty much anything else. Needless to say, some people were pretty confused and pretty pissed.
SART Intern Rachel Verner ’15 and Sexual Violence Resource Coordinator Alysha Warren invite you:
Having thriving relationships with others starts with caring for and understanding ourselves. Join us in a lively conversation where we will reflect, share experiences and learn new skills to create thriving relationships.
Through this workshop, we will examine and think of new ways to care for ourselves and others, gain deeper understanding of our desires, needs and boundaries, and develop effective ways to communicate and manage conflict in relationships.
Location: Downey House Lounge
Date: Wednesday, October 3rd
Learn more on the Facebook event here. RSVP to rverner(at)weselyan(dot)edu
Now that SART Intern Rachel Verner ’15 grabbed your attention with the photo above, she wants to invite you to talk about it:
Love sex? And when your partner really wants it? A good number of you must – given that we go to the horniest school in America.
Now. Let’s be clear – sexual violence is not limited to unwanted sexual activity – it includes relationship violence and stalking too. Sexual violence isn’t even about sex; it’s about power and control. But I had to get your attention somehow (in case the cute kid in the life jacket wasn’t enough).
The Sexual Violence Action Committee (SVAC) is having its first meeting of the year on Monday, September 17th from 2:45pm to 3:45pm.
From Camara-Awkward Rich ’11:
Wesleyan Students for Consent and Communication (SFCC) is putting together a visual display for the upcoming sexual health awareness week. Because take back the night isn’t happening until April this year, we wanted to find a way of representing the impact of sexual violence on campus. Please help us out by answering the below (it’ll take 5 seconds, promise). Also, please make sure to answer only once.
The following is also published as a Wespeak in today’s Argus. Keep an eye out for a response from the administration:
The one-year anniversary of Johanna Justin-Jinich’s murder is fast approaching. This Thursday, May 6th will mark for the Wesleyan community one year that has passed since we lost Johanna in what was undeniably one of the most horrific acts of violence this campus has, and ever will, experience. Her murder was a hate crime, a ruthless act of gender violence and anti-Semitism.
Gender violence is a persistent problem on this campus, as was once again brought to the fore by the recent Wespeaks written by students who have been sexually assaulted at Wesleyan, as well as those written by staff and students calling for greater administrative accountability to issues of gender violence prevention and response. Additionally, at the forum on campus violence on Tuesday, April 27th, students, staff, and alumni came together to discuss possible improvements to Wesleyan resources.
Students have been working with the university for years to improve University policy, response, and prevention around issues of sexual and gender violence on campus but still have found little sustained administrative support. The only way more effective resources, policies, and prevention efforts can be put into place is to establish a full-time staff position that would be responsible for advocating on behalf of survivors of sexual and gender violence, heading sustained prevention efforts, and helping all members of the Wesleyan community work together to build a campus that is safe for everyone. Safety means a community in which everyone is accountable for creating an environment that promotes respect, consent, critical thinking, and sex-positivity.
Persistent student pressure on the administration resulted in the creation of the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Intern, but this position alone cannot adequately address a campus climate of gender violence. The intense responsibilities of the position are too demanding for any one student to carry out effectively. Although there are various support systems in place for students (i.e. the faculty/staff on SART & OBHS), it is unfair and unsustainable that the only person on campus who is paid to be specifically knowledgeable about sexual assault and gender violence is a ten hour per week student position that isn’t even written into a specific departmental budget. The Intern position currently gets its funding through the SBC.
The University has a responsibility to invest in a staff position which would allow us to address this pervasive violence. This isn’t a question of available funding, but a question of priorities. Comparable schools such as Barnard, Amherst, Trinity, Bates, Bard, Skidmore, Bowdoin, Colorado College, Lewis and Clark, Whitman, and Brown have invested in at least one staff position, and it’s time for Wesleyan to follow suit.
The above document circulated via the internet for only three days and, in that time, received formal support from 536 members of the Wesleyan community: 405 students, 47 alum, 37 parents/family members, and 27 members of the Wesleyan faculty/staff.
Have any questions about sexual assault on this campus? Wondering what to do if you’ve experienced any kind of sexual violence? What to do if your friend has experienced sexual violence?
Liz Krushnic ’10, the SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) intern, acts as a liaison between students and on- and off-campus resources for sexual violence, advocates for campus sexual violence resources, and creates space for campus dialogue, education, and awareness around issues of sexual violence. The SART intern can help you or a friend navigate a room change, OBHS, the Health Center, reporting, the SJB process, difficulties completing coursework, and any other services you may want or need. The intern also convenes the SART student group that is working on improving Wesleyan’s sexual violence resources and programming.
For any questions, you can contact Liz at ekrushnic[at]wesleyan[dot]edu or come to her office hours as posted below. If you would like to be involved in the student group or have an idea for the group to work on, please feel free to contact Liz.
190 High St. (University Organizing Center, between Beta and Eclectic), Room 104
Date: now until the end of the year
Time: Mondays 4 – 6 pm, Tuesdays 1:30 – 6 pm, Thursdays 4:30 – 6 pm
Place: 190 High/UOC, Room 104