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NoRedTapeCU letter to Prospies

NoRedTapeCU letter to Prospies

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Letter handed out by NoRedTape Columbia to Days on Campus prospective students.
Letter handed out by NoRedTape Columbia to Days on Campus prospective students.

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Published by: Columbia Daily Spectator on Apr 06, 2014
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04/10/2014

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Dear Admitted Students,Congratulations on your acceptance to Columbia! We’re excited to welcome a new class of talented and thoughtful leaders into our community. As you consider what kind of college community you want to be a part of, we urge you to prioritize your own safety and how university communities respond and prevent sexual violence on campus. Wherever you end up this fall, we need you to be a part of ending sexual violence on campus both at Columbia and nationwide.Sexual violence on campus is a national issue. It is estimated that nationwide 20% of women and 6% of men experience sexual assault or attempted sexual assault during their college years. Data reveal nearly 50% of trans* people experience sexual violence. No matter the demographic, the most common type of sexual assault is not committed by a stranger but by someone known to the victim, typically a date or other acquaintance. It’s  become increasingly clear that colleges and universities are failing to prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus in a way that prioritizes students’ safety.Columbia is not exempt from this. Here on our campus, we have completely inadequate prevention and education programming regarding consent, rape culture, and bystander intervention. Many survivors have had trouble accessing the professional health and counseling resources they need. Students found guilty of perpetrating sexual violence are frequently allowed to stay on campus and are not required to go through a meaningful education or counseling process to help prevent them from committing future violence.While Columbia administrators claim to be committed to working on this issue, the actions they have taken thus far do not show that they understand its urgency and seriousness, or how many of us it affects. Administrators have repeatedly refused to include the diversity of student voices affected by this issue in conversations around reform, and have been extremely slow and reluctant to engage with students on how to make substantive changes. Student safety is an immediate and constant concern for us--we deserve an administration that prioritizes our needs and voices. And so do you. We urge you, as prospective students, to seriously consider the impact of sexual violence in the campus community you choose to be a part of. As you visit and evaluate college campuses this spring, ask questions about universities’ prevention and response to sexual violence on campus. Ask administrators and students alike what steps are being taken to make their campuses safer. Ask about what counseling and reporting options are available for survivors. Ask about what sanctions are given to students who commit sexual violence. Ask about what education programs universities use to prevent sexaul assault and address rape culture. The way a university addresses sexual violence reflects the values and culture of its campus community. Be a part of the solution: Speak up for your own safety and ask questions. Consider these issues as part of your college decision process. And wherever you end up, be an active part of ending violence and making your campus a safer place for all students. Sincerely,  No Red Tape Columbia NoRedTapeCu@gmail.comFacebook.com/NoRedTapeCU@NoRedTapeCU

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