RUSA Town Hall addresses sexual violence, education

<p>The Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) voted unanimously to co-sponsor Women Organizing Against Harassment’s “Write Your Reps” event. Students will learn tips on how to contact their representatives.</p>

The Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) voted unanimously to co-sponsor Women Organizing Against Harassment’s “Write Your Reps” event. Students will learn tips on how to contact their representatives.

A Sexual Violence and Education Town Hall was held at the Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) meeting last week. The event featured four panelists each of whom are leaders in Rutgers’ sexual violence education and support community.

The town hall was moderated by Chanel Jordan, the Sexual Violence Education Department Chair and a School of Arts Sciences senior.

Jackie Moran, the director of Student Affairs Compliance and Title IX coordinator, said that her office’s mission is to “oversee compliance with any policies, regulations, state laws and federal laws that prohibit any discrimination against students. And over the past five years our work has transitioned pretty progressively towards focusing entirely on Title IX.”

She said that her office also provides education and training for sexual assault and violence prevention.

Currently, Moran said, students and faculty are subject to different sexual assault policies. 

Her office is only responsible for enforcing policies for students, whereas the faculty policy is enforced by the Office of Employment Equity. While the policies are similar, the challenge for investigating faculty is that their office does not have the authority to impose any discipline. A recommendation is sent to the staffer’s department for an ultimate decision.

She said that these departments may not want to necessarily carry out disciplinary actions, especially if the faculty member is tenured.

There is a University-wide committee to investigate the issue, she said, but that committee does not have any members that represent her office or the student body.

Brady Root, the prevention education coordinator at the Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance, said her office focuses on preventing sexual violence with the ultimate goal of eradicating the violence before it occurs.

She said they do that through education and training programs, including the “Not Anymore” online program and the Scream Theater presentation at student orientation. Some of the topics discussed through these forums are healthy masculinity and how to deal with rejection.

Priti Kantesaria, president of Rutgers NO MORE and School of Engineering junior, said her student organization tailors discussions about consent and sexual violence to other student groups around campus. Another big campaign for them has been placing more than 2,500 big boards around campus that says the slogan “no more” with pictures of people standing in front.

The group, she said, will get more involved with sexual violence awareness events on campus, such as Take Back the Night, an event hosted by Women Organizing Against Harassment (WOAH).

Talia Lang, president of WOAH and School of Arts and Sciences junior, said the event is an annual global march against sexual- and gender-based violence.

One of the first marches in the United States occurred at a college where a female microbiologist was murdered walking home late at night. The women who started the march in response, living through the feminist movement of the 1970s, wanted to be able to go out at night without being afraid.

Lang also co-wrote the resolution RUSA voted on yesterday, to co-sponsor WOAH'S “Write Your Reps” event.

She said in an interview with The Daily Targum that this will be a non-partisan civic engagement event where students can come and learn how to write and call their political representatives. They will also give tips on how to do so, as contacting representatives can be intimidating for students.

The resolution passed unanimously, making RUSA a co-sponsor. The event will take place on Nov. 14 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Douglass Student Center.

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