The following responses are from three of the four Student Government Association’s presidential campaigns when asked to provide a brief summary of their plans to help prevent sexual assault on campus and advocate for victims as president. We did not receive a response from the Aubel/Hiatt campaign.
From the Meraz/Mazeitis campaign:
The Meraz/Mazeitis campaign is absolutely committed to challenging sexual assault on our campus. In fact, for the last two years, Jake has worked as a sexual assault prevention peer educator with the Step In, Speak Out program, educating hundreds of students about the harms of rape culture and the necessity of bystander intervention.
We intend to require active bystander intervention training for all elected and appointed members of SGA, and plan to support the efforts of the newly-established It’s On Us Taskforce in whatever ways we can. Our office will always be a space where victims of sexual assault can find support and resources, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with outstanding organizations like the Gender + Equality Center to fight sexual assault wherever it occurs.
If you’re interested in learning more about the issue of sexual assault on college campuses, check out Jake’s article in this issue about the impact even a small number of rapists can have. For more information about sexual assault prevention/awareness and other aspects of our platform, please visit our website at allinwithmm.com.
From the Shurbaji/Hardin campaign:
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women and one in 71 men are sexually assaulted on college campuses nationwide. This is unacceptable. No person should have to suffer from a sexual assault, and no victim deserves blame in wake of an attack.
We are personally committed to alleviating rape culture in our community with three steps.
First, when called upon to speak about rape culture, we will name the problem rather than place blame on a victim for the acts of their perpetrator. Because individuals in prestigious leadership roles have the capability of influencing the public’s perception of societal norms, it is vital for us as a potential SGA President and Vice President to take strong, public stances in support of victims and against rape culture. More specifically, I (Yaseen Shurbaji) will participate in the White Ribbon Campaign to show my support for ending sexual violence. We will also both participate in the It’s On Us campaign and provide any resources we can to further its reach. This includes changing the desktop background images of every campus computer to include the It’s On Us graphic and taking over the OU Snapchat during sexual assault awareness month.
Second, we will raise awareness without targeting cohorts of people. Everyone is equal, and cornering individuals is counterproductive to changing perception. Instead, we will have collective dialogues with numerous students and faculty. We already plan on implementing a video series to connect with the community, and we will produce some which address our stance, outline common misconceptions, and teach viewers how to be active bystanders.
Lastly, we will closely follow Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, as she recently announced that her administration would rewrite Title IX regulations. We both had the fortunate opportunity to work for the United State Congress this summer under Rep. Tom Cole and Senator James Lankford. By keeping an open, direct line of communication with our representatives’ offices, we will have up-to-date information on Secretary Devos’s propositions and be able to effectively advocate for positive Title IX rulings. If you’d like to review more safety measures, please visit www.shurbajihardin4sga.com.
From the Williams/Lyness campaign:
The Williams/Lyness campaign views sexual assault prevention as one of the key planks of our campaign. Our current plans to reduce sexual assault on campus are to allocate more funds to the organizations and movements, such as the #ItsOnUs Committee, dedicated to prevention in addition to working with them directly whenever possible.
We also want to make sure that the federal rollback of the 2011 “Dear Colleague Letter” does not affect OU. We’re planning to implement the protections granted by the Letter on a campus level. In addition, we plan on initiating several reforms of the Step In, Speak Out program. We want to include training on identifying and preventing male-to-male, female-to-female, and female-to-male rape in addition to the curriculum focusing on male-to-female rape.
We unequivocally believe that all victims of rape, no matter the gender of those involved, deserve to be heard and protected.
Learn more about their platform at their campaign website.