Following is the full text of the student statement of the Sexual Assault Resource Reform Coalition regarding yesterday’s disclosure that Knox College is being investigated for sex-based discrimination.
The student members of the Sexual Assault Resource Reform Coalition (SARRC) are so inspired by the person(s) who had the bravery to share their experiences and directly work to make this campus safer by filing a federal complaint. We have read the report issued Monday by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and are very encouraged that their efforts have been informed by survivors and student activists. Additionally, we have had conversations with the Office of Civil Rights and are very encouraged by their willingness to listen to and work with the people of our community. Because we see this as an area that requires improvement at Knox College, we see the OCR’s involvement on our campus as absolutely necessary.
In winter 2013, SARRC was formed after students voiced their concerns and asked to work with the administration. We held forums for students to voice their concerns because there was no other outlet for them to do so and we confirmed that the lack of support for students–and the few resources we did have–were actively harming students on our campus. We discovered that our campus lacked an acting Title IX Coordinator and we worked for many months to demand that the administration address these issues.
Now that we are seeing change on this campus, it is important to put into perspective that these issues have been brought up for years (see: SASS Demands 2008). More recently, students in SARRC and across campus have tried to assert their voices and get our community to hear them. This is an issue that the administration now appears to be taking seriously. The Task Force that has been so greatly emphasized by our administration was formed in January 2014. There have been improvements but we must question what spurred these changes and what/who is the primary concern of the people in power.
Knox College has asked us to #daretocare. Last weekend, at Take Back the Night, students asserted that #caringismandatory and that these issues are essential to everyone in our community. As students who have worked tirelessly within SARRC on this issue, we would like to add that caring is absolutely mandatory, #notonlywhentheOCRislooking.
Kayla KennedyGabrielle Rajerison