The Alice Haynes room was packed. Students gathered to participate in the viewing of "The Hunting Ground," a recent documentary dealing with the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. The event was a part of the *WILL lecture series on justice. In watching the film, students engaged in a moment of solidarity, and are certainly still looking for answers to this ongoing issue.
"The Hunting Ground" depicted a compelling story. It followed the story of Andrea Pino and Annie Clark, two former University of North Carolina students who filed a Title IX complaint after being raped and not receiving an adequate response from UNC to bring the perpetrators to justice. The story is one of betrayal, however. Despite inadequate handling of the situation on part of UNC, they were able to start a national movement and become advocates for survivors of sexual assault.
I saw "The Hunting Ground" over winter break, but it was especially powerful to watch it with other students. Hearing the gasps at alarming statistics, and feeling tensions rise as we watched university presidents defend their institutions was especially powerful. Another student behind me was crying as survivors of sexual assault shared their stories and sought justice from their institutions.
The discussion after the film seemed unsatisfactory for students asking the questions. After about eight questions or so, there was no sign of any administrative reform. In fact, administrators, including Joe Boehman, dean of Richmond College and Dan Fabian, associate dean of Richmond College and deputy Title IX Coordinator, seemed defensive in answering questions. This is not the type of communication we need in order to really put a dent in the issue.
There will be a follow up discussion of the film and general university policies regarding sexual assault in Tyler Haynes Commons room 321 Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 6:00 p.m., however, the likelihood of administrative change looks doubtful. Despite the sincerity on part of both students and administrators towards stopping the issue, until both parties can learn to talk about the sexual assault in a professional manner, little will be accomplished in the short term.
Contact Jayson Vivas at firstname.lastname@example.org