The Battle on Sexual Assault

April 14, 2014 5:10 pm1 comment

South Carolina Student Voices handed out flyers that discussed Coastal Carolina University and other South Carolina Universities. Their slogan is ‘all the news you should know that’s left out of your syllabus’ by students for students.

The flyer included an article about CCU entitled “Colleges Would Rather Save Their Own ***** Than Stop Rape” by Callie Beusman on Jezebel.com. The article used an unnamed Coastal student as their source and the author precedes to use profanities in the article.

The article discussed the “Tea & Ethics” panel about “Sex and College Life: Hooking Up, STDs and Consent” on October 31, 2013 and a headline in a pevious issue of The Chanticleer that read “COASTAL BEAT THOSE HOSE.”

The article states that there was a “stream of ignorant, victim-blaming statements made by students” at the “Tea & Ethics” panel.

“It was a student being ignorant because he knew he could get a reaction. The students were taking the administrations passion about the topic as a joke,” said Shanice McWilliams, a junior communication major who attended the event.

The author precedes to discuss how a “hostile sexual environment continues to thrive on campus” and that “CCU assault initiatives are not being done, or they’re being rushed through and under-publicized.”

The Chanticleer contacted the anonymous source who was used in Callie Beusman’s article.

“Students, collectively, have more power than anyone else on campus because they are the consumers of the institution and perpetuate a massive system. At the same time, we aren’t the ones driving the institutions and the decisions being made are incredibly top-heavy. It’s like we all pay to take the bus but have no say in the route the bus takes and when we protest it taking a turn we don’t like, we’re often met with rhetoric like, “If you don’t like the way I’m driving this bus then you can walk.” SC Student Voices is really trying to harness the student energy, form partnerships and provide a platform for students to be heard,” said the anonymous source.

“I think it was negligent for the administration to not release a statement to the students. If the administration made a statement, stopping what they so often call  ‘rumors’ and did not sweep these issues under the rug then we wouldn’t have these voices coming from tons of other sources like Jezebel,” said Ali Cohen, junior education major who is involved with the SC Student Voices.

According to the article, the anonymous source commented on a Facebook post on the Women in Philanthropy and Leadership page and was then contacted by the President’s wife who runs the program.

“It was so troubling to me, especially the email about my scholarship in which the power dynamics were so obviously flexed, because I know there are tons of students, even faculty, who cannot afford to lose their scholarships, financial-aid, internship, CCU job, etc. They do not speak out about issues on campus because they fear CCU will handle their criticisms precisely the way they did mine, so  I thought it important I draw attention to this and hope it inspires some type of change. It’s helped add to the local, college, and national conversation about these issues, if nothing else,” said the anonymous source.

“What Coastal did instead by trying to intimidate and silence students wasn’t civil: it was censorious and dangerous,” Callie Beusman concluded in the article.

President David DeCenzo responded to these claims from Jezebel.com, but Beusman only posted part of his response.

“The University has engaged in a variety of Sexual Assault/Sexual Violence Programming Initiatives over recent semesters.  Each of these programs are part of our strategic direction of providing the safest and healthiest environment on our campus.  Clearly the incident at the Tea and Ethics event and its aftermath reinforce our need to continue to promote civility in our personal interactions,” said President DeCenzo.  

His response included programs, training and education on sexual assault taught prior to the “Tea & Ethics” event. Coastal has mandatory Title IX training for all CCU faculty, staff and student athletics. Coastal also has seven Title IX coordinators and fifteen who are certified/trained as Title IX investigators.

University housing conducted 46 active programs and 56 passive programs in this school year on sexual assault, healthy relationships, gender and sex. For freshman in the Fall, a module on sexual harassment/assault training called “Haven” will be required for students with Alcohol Edu.

The Chanticleer contacted Callie Beusman about her claims, but she had no comment.

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