On the morning of Monday, Feb. 15, students noticed a definite change to the 8.5 x 11 flyers that usually line the windows of Seymour Gallery. Over most of the windows, an anonymous group of students put up large banners with a strong adhesive in response to recent sexual assaults reported on the Knox campus.
Separate from any official Knox student organization, six individual students came together to make posters that expressed their outrage at the recent sexual assaults on the Knox campus.
Dispelling rumors that Students Against Sexism in Society (SASS) was responsible for the posters, SASS president junior Amelia Garcia said, “This was not an officially sanctioned SASS event.”
Garcia also said that, while she thinks many students seeing the posters on a daily basis because of their location raised a lot of conversation, she is not sure how effective some of them were.
“An issue I have with the message of these posters is that they seem to be focusing on the assaults that happened in the fraternity houses and I think that’s narrowing it. Sexual assault happens everywhere on campus,” she said.
President of Interfraternity Council junior Jimmy Thornton said, “I didn’t see all of them. As to the ones that are still up, I think they’re helpful and informative to the Knox community. I’m saddened to hear that the other ones were so negative towards anyone.” Thornton also said that he realizes that “rape is something that needs to be looked at more seriously on college campuses, especially our own.”
Thornton also cited the statistics referenced in last year’s Greek Task Force report, which states that only three sexual assaults occurred in Greek houses over the time of the study used for the report. “That could be because only a small part of the Knox community lived in Greek houses, but who knows,” he said.
Dean of Students Xavier Romano also said that he thought the issue of the anonymity of the posters was an issue as well.
“People were understandably sad and frustrated, particularly at the anonymity of the posters,” he said. “People certainly have a right, at Knox, to put things up as they do. The word vandalism never came up. I think people were thoughtful about the message they had.”
There have been no mentions of officially citing the incident as vandalism, though the Campus Safety Log does mention “possible damage to walls and bulletin boards due to the use of an adhesive to post items” in Seymour Hall less than an hour after the posters were hung up.
Sophomore Miguel Nunez said he was glad that the posters were put up. “That type of aggressive visibility is exactly what we need to make Knox address these really important issues …The school really silences the issue a lot. It’s kind of deceptive on their part.”
“If they were intended to catch people’s attention, they certainly did that. If they were intended to have a larger conversation, I’m not sure if they did that,” said Romano.
It was also a day of very high attendance for prospective students on Monday, though Vice President of Enrollment and Dean of Admission Paul Steenis did not hear any questions raised by prospective students about the posters.
Below is a complete list of what was written on each separate poster. Some of them were ripped down early in the week or before Monday was over. The only one that is still on the windows as of 3:30 on Wednesday, Feb. 17 reads, “Knox is no exception to rape statistics.”
What the posters said
“The Knox bubble does not keep out rape.”
“Women’s safety > Greek solidarity.”
“‘Your silence will not protect you’ –Audre Lorde.”
“When someone gets mugged, the school pays $75,000 for cameras; when a girl gets raped, nothing happens.”
“Greek impunity perpetuates rape culture.”
“58% of Knox is female. Why are we not protecting them?”
“1 in 4 women experience sexual assault in college.”
“2 sexual assaults, one weekend: where is your outrage?”
“60% go unreported, 42% tell no one.”