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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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Student-led committee formed for conversations on sexual assault

Student-led+committee+formed+for+conversations+on+sexual+assault

With plans to release demands, students form a committee to discuss sexual assault on Knox’s campus

After watching the social media uproar regarding sexual assault at Knox over the summer, students from YDSA decided to organize on campus, resulting in the forming of the Victim Survivor Justice Advisory Committee (VSJAC) in order to continue the conversation. 

In mid-August, names of alleged sexual assaulters in the Knox community were anonymously posted on a public Instagram account called “anontestimonies.” The page individually posted roughly 50 names of assaulters shared by various Knox students and alumni. The identity of the owner is still not publicly known, but a group of students felt the need to organize in order to continue the conversation around sexual misconduct at Knox after the immediate reaction on social media died down.

School started shortly after in September and juniors Poornima Tata, Ella Rosenberg, Rose Stout, Allison LaSalvia and Helen Zguri along with senior Anna Neubauer founded the group to educate and gather students on campus to take part in conversations on sexual assault and Title IX. They emphasize the idea that this is a decentralized platform and although these five members started the conversation, they are not the ones who are leading all action taken.

“We took the initiative to set up our meeting and create this space to start the conversation but we ultimately want it to be led by everyone, especially victim/survivors, lgbtq+ folk, people of color, and other marginalized groups of people. None of us can or should do it alone. We have to do this work together,” Stout said on their Facebook page.

Coming into the school year ready to take action, they planned a meeting inviting organizations all over campus to come together and take part in conversations on what clubs should do when a member of their organization is an assaulter, along with what they think needs to be done in regard to sexual assault at Knox.

“Our original plan was to come up with a list of demands and I think that at our first meeting, you know, [demands are] something that people are not just thinking about all the time. So we wanted to give them an opportunity to just start thinking about the options that there are and what they think,” said Rosenberg.

In the first meeting, the core members of VSJAC asked questions about what specific organizations are doing and continuing to do to aid survivors, along with whether or not they have had conversations with their club members about procedures taken. The discussion evolved into conversations on Title IX, discussing if students feel prepared and knowledgeable on the structure of Title IX and if there is something wrong within Title IX at Knox.

While the VSJAC is separate from Knox’s YDSA chapter, the members are continuing to strive for ideals represented in the YDSA chapter, such as restorative justice as a way to think of alternative forms of justice in Title IX.

“Title IX is just a small part, most people don’t even report to Title IX, so we want to make sure there are different avenues,” Tata said, “Something that we always keep in mind is how does restorative justice play into all of this.”

Coming into their second meeting, the group faced new challenges; including new people who were not in attendance in the initial meeting, and a small number of attendees who have actually gone through the process of a Title IX case or who have been a victim of sexual assault. As a way to combat the lack of attendance in meetings, the members plan to move forward with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous involvement, including polls and surveys on their Facebook page.

Throughout their organizing, the group has identified their main points of focus will be on greek life (specifically fraternities, with roughly 44% of reported names of anontestimonies, according to VSJAC), athletics, consent workshops and counseling services which were all topics brought up by a variety of participants in the meetings. The group came up with the idea of releasing a publication that gave survivors a place to tell their story, along with providing context to the workings of Title IX and sexual assault on campus. The status of this publication is unknown.

“We want to give people a picture of what the culture is around sexual assault on campus,” Rosenberg said. VSJAC will be continuing to meet in the coming winter term and have plans to release a list of demands and possibly a publication detailing the steps that they believe need to be taken in regard to sexual assault at Knox. All organizing and communication are done through the “Victim/Survivor Justice Advisory Committee (VSJAC)” group on Facebook, or through their email distribution list, which participants can be added to by getting in contact with Rosenberg or Stout, who are the chairs of the committee.

TKS is investigating issues surrounding sexual assault and Title IX at Knox.If you have thoughts or concerns about Title IX and its related issues, including how we will report it, let us know through this Google form. Please share this form with ot…

TKS is investigating issues surrounding sexual assault and Title IX at Knox.If you have thoughts or concerns about Title IX and its related issues, including how we will report it, let us know through this Google form. Please share this form with other members of Knox’s community as well. Thank you so much and do not be afraid to reach out with questions.

https://forms.gle/g5ZrdbjhrB5FMaCS9

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