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Spiders Against Sexual Assault (SASA), a student group, covered heavily trafficked parts of campus with posters and chalk messages about sexual assault survivors and the administration on Saturday.
The messages appeared on the forum, Tyler Haynes Commons and in the area surrounding the lodges and Robins Stadium. SASA chose to display their statements on family weekend because of the increased activity on campus.
Sexual assault at Richmond is a "conversation parents want to be having," said Maddy Dunbar, a senior involved with SASA. "We want parents to know the extent of which this affects student lives."
The messages ranged from declarations of support for sexual assault survivors to accusations that Richmond's administration perpetuates rape culture.
"We wanted it to be a surprise," said sophomore Joshua Kim, who helped organize the demonstration. "This is a wake-up call for the administration."
Kim and about seven other students involved with SASA started writing chalk messages and hanging posters at 7 a.m. Saturday morning. As the day progressed, a few people slowed their pace to read the messages, while others walked without glancing at them.
A student angrily tore one of the posters down that quoted the sexist email responsible for Kappa Alpha fraternity's suspension from campus.
"I have friends in Kappa Alpha," the young man said as he crumpled the poster.
The parents of a Richmond College junior, who asked not to be named, did not realize how polarizing sexual assault at Richmond had become until they saw student and alumni demonstrators after President Ronald Crutcher's speech to families Friday night.
The students and two alumni holding signs criticizing the administration were "a nice counterpoint to the president's speech," the father said. Crutcher's speech had "no facts, no figures," he said.
Both parents linked sexual assault to underage drinking, which they said Richmond was lenient on. If the administration wants to curb assaults, it must enforce the drinking age law, they said. The father said fewer people would apply to Richmond if that happened.
A man from the community, who did not have a connection to Richmond, fixed a poster that had fallen while on a walk around Westhampton lake. Others left fallen posters on the ground.
While the primary purpose of the posters and chalk messages was to get parents' and the administration's attention, Dunbar also wanted to reach out to sexual assault survivors in a public manner.
"Even if the administration won't support survivors, we as a community will," she said.
Contact news editor Kayla Solsbak at firstname.lastname@example.org