Instead of having its normal meeting this past Monday, SGA held an open forum for students to come and speak surrounding the issues of sexual assault and gender-based misconduct on campus. Bwogger Lauren Beltrone dutifully reports.
At SGA’s last meeting, CU Dems presented a petition to make changes to the current sexual assault and gender-based misconduct policies enforced at Columbia and Barnard. Before voting in favor to sign the petition, SGA wanted to hear from the students. Monday’s meeting was dedicated to just that—questions, comments, concerns, and suggestions as to how to implement positive change in our community with regard to these issues. President Maddy Popkin, BC ’14, also brought up President Spar and President Bollinger’s statements as possible fodder for discussion.
Eight students spoke at the meeting, all of whom wished to remain anonymous due to the personal nature of the topic. The first student speaker focused on aspects of communication. Pointing out a need for more reliable sources than Facebook for news about policy issues, the speaker suggested that the Senior Class Council page be used for that purpose. The speaker went on to compliment SGA for handing the situation with care and actively working to create a safe space for survivors. After the student left the podium, numerous subsequent speakers thanked SGA for including trigger warnings in their emails and echoed that there exists no safe space on campus for survivors.
Another student speaker criticized the “Keeping Sex Sexy” workshops that take place during NSOP week for first-years, proposing that the curriculum cover more preventative measures. The speaker also brought up non-Barnard students’ access to Furman and emphasized that both the hours of and entry into the Rape Crisis Center must be changed. Finally, one student voiced the opinion that the severity of punishment for the perpetrator should match the severity of the convicted crime.
As the external part of meeting came to an end, SGA voted in favor of signing CU Dems’ petition.
Teamwork via Shutterstock.