Group rallies at Simon's office
Representatives from the Coalition Against Sexual Violence will meet with university administrators in the next few weeks after about 40 members rallied in President Lou Anna K. Simon’s office Friday afternoon to criticize MSU for not taking action on recent alleged sexual assaults on campus.
The group met with Lee June, vice president of student affairs and services, and Paulette Granberry Russell, senior adviser to the president for diversity and director of the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, for more than an hour Friday.
The coalition presented administrators with a list of nine demands. Four dealt with an alleged sexual assault in late August allegedly involving two MSU basketball players. It asked the university match MSU men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo’s recent raise of $500,000 and devote the money to a campus consent and anti-rape campaign.
The following are summaries of the demands made by the Coalition Against Sexual Violence to the university:
1. MSU must investigate allegations of sexual assault on campus and those that involve at least one MSU student. MSU has to inform students of their right to take legal action after a sexual assault. MSU also has to make sure the university judicial system is unbiased and works on cases of sexual assault in a timely manner.
2. MSU must ensure that all students are aware of the resources available to them in the event of any form of sexual assault. Representatives of such resources, university-affiliated or otherwise, must play an essential role in this effort.
3. MSU must create a “zero tolerance” policy for sexual assault and harassment. The Coalition Against Sexual Violence , as well as other similar student groups, must be consulted in the policy’s development.
4. MSU must create a university-funded educational campaign to promote campuswide understanding of consent dynamics that focuses on the prevalence of acquaintance rape and the role of alcohol and other drugs in sexual assault. Again, the Coalition Against Sexual Violence and similar student groups must play an essential role in establishing this campaign.
5. MSU must develop a safe campus initiative that works to protect students from sexual assault. MSU must investigate the functionality of the emergency “green lights” placed across campus and in residence halls, which have been reported by members of ASMSU to function inconsistently.
6. MSU must mandate annual sexual assault education for student athletes and coaches. This program should be modeled after athlete-education programs at other universities and developed in collaboration with the Coalition Against Sexual Violence and allied student groups.
7. MSU must match men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo’s recent raise of $500,000 and devote the money to the new campus consent and anti-rape campaign.
8. MSU must remove the basketball players that allegedly were involved in the alleged sexual assault case in late August from the basketball team and MSU.
9. MSU must issue a public apology to the survivor of the above sexual assault case and all survivors for its failure to act or speak out.
Source: Coalition Against Sexual Violence
Residential College in the Arts and Humanities senior and coalition member Megan Spencer said the group is willing to negotiate the wording of the demands but not the message behind them. The coalition will be persistent and visible with its anti-rape message on campus, she said.
“If they think meetings are going to pacify us, that is not true,” Spencer said. “We’re going to be looking for real action.”
Russell said the university wants to have open dialogue regarding the group’s concerns, and wants to share information regarding existing university resources and policies.
“(Sexual assault) is not just a woman’s issue and I think that certainly from the voices
that were shared on Friday, that it doesn’t affect one gender or one segment of the population,” she said.
June said he hopes to continue discussing the group’s demands and present it with data from the judicial system and the Department of Student Life’s Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Prevention Program that now is mandatory for all incoming first-year students.
“The intent would be to continue to talk through the list of nine issues,” June said. “Some are in our control, (as far as) how certain programs are working, and we will continue that discussion.”
Many members who have joined the coalition are students who are survivors or know survivors of sexual assault, Spencer said.
“Our goals would be to engage how to better those programs and how to improve the policies at MSU,” she said. “One of the points we’re trying to make (is that) we live on this campus and there is a prevalent rape culture.”
Staff writer Andrew Krietz contributed to this report.