There are currently 106 universities throughout the United States that are under Federal investigation for the mistreatment of sexual assault cases. It took the courage of many victims coming forward and making a stand to draw attention to this issue on college campuses. As the issue came to light, the government took action and began the investigation of universities suspected of mistreating sexual assault cases. These mistreatments fall under the federal law Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in school that receive federal funding. It is disappointing to say that our school is on the list of 106 universities. In light of our investigation, student and faculty alike have been working to spread sexual assault awareness and prevention efforts on our campus. A big step in sexual assault awareness was the first ever Sexual Assault Awareness Summit in the month of April — Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The Summit kicked off on Thursday the 24th with a viewing of the film “The Hunting Ground” in Davis Auditorium. The documentary is focused on the failures of universities and other campus organizations in the handling of sexual assault cases. The film was especially poignant for this campus as one of the first scenes is of our lacrosse field. Both disheartening and inspirational, the film shows the failures of administrators within universities in the poor handling of sexual assault on their campus, while showing the strength and courage of victims coming forward to reveal the universities’ failures. The film sends a powerful message to all viewers, and also gives hope that change can be and is being made. After the film, there was a panel to answer any questions students may have. The panel consisted of Gillian Kaag, Program Director of CAPE, Kathryn Grove, Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX, Hava Gordon, Director of Gender and Women Studies, and Lori Scott and Emma Decker, the founders of the Undergraduate Women’s Council. This panel gave students the opportunity to express concerns and ask questions about what was being done on our campus to combat sexual assault.
The following morning started a day full of workshops, panels, and discussions. After the opening breakfast, people went to various breakout sessions including “Sexual Assault on Campus: The Basics,” “Sexual Assault and Prevention in the Queer Community,” and “Engaging Men.” The day consisted of 3 different sessions where people could choose which breakout sessions to go to. Other sessions consisted of “The Greek Community: Response and Prevention,” “Involving Athletics,” and “Sexual Assault and Communities of Color.” These various breakout sessions were meant to engage different communities on campus and discuss sexual assault awareness and prevention. They were taught by a myriad of people from students to professors and other people in the Denver community.
The day ended with a “Call to Action.” Those who had made it all the way through the summit gathered in Lindsay Auditorium. This was a time to for attendees to discuss concrete ideas for our campus. The facilitators of the conversation took notes of all of the ideas in order to pass them off directly to administrators. Talking about these issues can only do so much. Coming up with concrete ideas for administrators to pursue will better our campus. However, it is not only on administrators to better this campus. This is our campus, and as the saying goes, It’s On Us. It is our responsibility to make this campus safe for all of our peers and fellow students. It is our responsibility to support survivors of sexual assault on our campus. It is our responsibility to make the change. It’s On Us. To take the pledge to combat sexual assault, visit their website.