As a student activist group new to the Pace University NYC campus this semester, we have gone from pressured Tweeting with our namesake hashtag to meeting with school administration and faculty to discuss sexual assault policy and program changes that need to be made. Working to end campus sexual assault requires a united effort from students, faculty, staff, and administration to shift campus culture on sexual violence. It is not possible to achieve all these changes in one semester; but with the approaching new year, we thought it a good idea to look back on the events and initiatives we did this semster to not disregard the process to change.
10 Things that happened in Fall 2014:
1. Conducted our first student-wide survey in September that asked students for their concerns and comments about sexual assault on campus. Within a week we received 90 detailed responses. The results from this survey were presented to Dean O’Grady at the first Sexual Assault Task Force meeting in September.
2. Hosted bi-weekly general meetings to meet with students, updated them on actions done by the Sexual Assault Task Force, and gathered feedback on what should be improved. Meetings were held either on Tuesday or Thursday, and we hope to continue with those days for next semester.
3. Worked with the Civility Collateral and Pace Housing to host the first “Civility Week,” which had a week-long agenda of activities aimed at bringing awareness to sexual assault and campus violence. We worked closely with the LGBTQA & Social Justice Center to conduct a bystander intervention program.
4. At the Homecoming Health & Wellness Fair, several of our members and Pace administration, faculty, and staff participated in a #PaceUEndRape Instagram challenge to show support in holding ourselves accountable to doing what we can to change attitudes towards sexual assault and rape.
#ItsOnsUs T-Bone stickers were distributed, iPads were available for people to take the White House’s #ItsOnUs pledge online, and photo consent forms were given for people to take the Instagram challenge.
More photos can be viewed here.
5. We participated in the #CarryTheWeight event on October 29 to stand in solidarity with sexual assault survivors across the nation. We asked students to carry a pillow round campus all day to show their support. We stood in solidarity with more than 140 schools to raise awareness about sexual assault.
6. With the Dean for Students and the Sexual Assault Task Force, we organized two town halls on these topics: consent, and revenge porn and social media.
7. Launched a new informative poster series that was distributed and shared over social media. These posters contain information we felt was beneficial and easy to digest. The series started with the poster “5 Ways We Can Teach People Not to Rape”; our most recent poster is on LGBT Sexual Assault.
8. Created a new anonymous suggestion box for any comments and critiques students may not feel comfortable sending us directly. The suggestion box can be accessed here: http://tinyurl.com/qznq9nt
9. One of our members, Chris Thomas, spoke about #PaceUEndRape at TED X Fulton Street. It was highlighted in the November 13 issue of the school newspaper, The Pace Press.
10. Constructed an updated definition of consent to be included in the new sexual assault policies that will be shared with the entire Pace community in February.
There is still much to be done about campus sexual assault at Pace University and at a national level. Nevertheless, we move forward into the new year with energy to continue our advocacy on this issue. We cannot do this alone and need as many people as possible to join us in our cause. It is YOUR thoughts and actions that are a meaningful contribution to the cause and make a powerful impact.
WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION, TOGETHER. Because it’s us against society’s norms of sexual violence that condone words, actions, and attitudes towards it.
If you are interested in becoming involved with us and Pace University’s Sexual Assault Task Force, feel free to message us on Facebook or to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are active on Twitter and Instagram. Our Facebook page is frequently updated with announcements and resources, so “Like” us if you would like to get more information.
Stand up. Speak up. Let your voice be heard. Join us as we make 2015 the year of making drastic changes to end campus violence.