Campus / News / April 29, 2010

Groups give materials on sexual assault to prospective students

Some admitted students received more than just a purple folder on their visit to campus last Friday.  A rainy Admitted Students Day brought out prospectives and pamphlets when student groups Estudiantes sin Fronteras and Alliance for Peaceful Action teamed up to distribute materials addressing sexual assault to admitted students and their families.

The organizations announced their “Call to Action” on April 2 when fliers were placed in campus mailboxes. On April 8, they ran a paid advertisement in The Knox Student with the same information.

These materials expressed the opinion that “the use of proper channels [had] exceeded their limits and the appropriate response for the college community is action.”  They went on to request that the campus community participate in this action, reading:

“We ask all campus organizations, clubs, and individuals, to participate in demanding administrative responses and prevention to sexual assault on campus via ACTION.”

The decision to request displays of action on Admitted Students Day was not a coincidence. “We chose Admitted Students Day, because our prospective new peers deserve to know what the administration does to keep its students safe,” said the advertisement.

The Office of Admissions, the department responsible for the organization of Admitted Students Day, was prepared for the Call to Action according to senior and admissions employee Erin Souza.

“At the beginning of the day, the Admission Office gathered the tour guides together to discuss the call to action. We were told that if anyone interrupted our tours, we should politely ask them to leave so that we could continue with the tour,” she said.

At the admitted student’s luncheon, Dean of Admissions Paul Steenis and a few prospective students were given “educational brochures” raising awareness of sexual assault. However, Steenis was not sure whether or not the students were involved with either Estudiantes sin Fronteras or Alliance for Peaceful Action.

“I had heard rumors and read in TKS that there would be a day of action on Admitted Student Day, but to the best of my knowledge nothing materialized,” said Steenis.

Some members of the Knox community were similarly unaware of the action, but others took note. President Roger Taylor commented on the possible influence of the event.

“It’s hard to say [whether the distribution of pamphlets had an impact]. I suspect it might, some,” said Taylor. “It’s going to be hard at the spur of the moment for prospective students to understand the whole context of this discussion at Knox.”

In evaluating the call to action, current students predicted the effect the call to action could have on the campus climate.

“I don’t think it’s the most constructive thing to do. It’s likely to breed more resentment than it does good. It does its job, though, if you’re looking for that kind of attention,” said junior Will Schwartz.

Schwartz noted that the issues addressed by the pamphlets are important to the Knox community.

Senior Simon Schneider agreed.

“It’s good that they’re addressing the issue, but I think it’s silly that they’re trying to make Knox out to be more dangerous than other schools,” said Schneider.

Call to Action organizers Estudiantes sin Fronteras and Alliance for Peaceful Action declined to comment at this time.

Sarah Colangelo

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