KU students demand changes regarding sexual assaults on campus - KCTV5 News


KU students demand changes regarding sexual assaults on campus

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(Erika Tallan/KCTV) (Erika Tallan/KCTV)
(Erika Tallan/KCTV) (Erika Tallan/KCTV)

Dozens of University of Kansas students attended a panel discussion on how to confront sexual assaults on campus Thursday.

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little opened the forum saying it's one step of many to put a stop to sex assaults on campus because she says they happen too often there.

Students from a campus advocacy group trying to prevent sex assaults attended the forum, pushing changes they want to see.

"We're very insistent of some things happening, including investigation of IOA (Institutional Opportunity and Access) cases, money going towards the Emily Taylor Center (for Women & Gender Equity) and changing the sexual assault education program to make it as vigorous as the AlcoholEdu program," said student Jamie Gadd-Nelson.

The meeting took a heated turn when students questioned the university's sexual assault policy.

"Rape is rape is rape," Meagan Mapes, a political science major at KU, exclaimed.

She and other students believe the term "rape" should be written in the policy instead of calling it "non-consensual sex."

"The terms that minimize the crime are a problematic and need to be removed from the vocabulary," Mapes added.

KU's Executive Director of Institutional Opportunity and Access Jane McQueeny said Thursday that in 2013 the university processed 12 sexual violence complaints. Those complaints included sexual battery, sexual assault and stalking.

McQueeny explained to concerned students that the IOA and KU aren't judicial organizations that's why they refer to rape as "non-consensual sex."

"We are not adjudicating crimes," McQueeny said.

Many students feel sex assaults on campus could be stopped by simply changing the language in the policy.

"I do not think it's going to just stop the problem, I think we're going to be more aware and it will change our attitude toward the subject," student Maddie Bell said.

The forum is in response to the growing concerns and criticism over a rape investigation that students feel the school handled poorly.

KU is under federal investigation for how it handles sexual violence on campus. KU is one of 76 higher education institutions under federal investigation for how it handles sexual violence on campus.

"If the administration pays attention to the voice of the students, we will go in the right direction. But if they give excuses, we will be back in the same place," Mapes said.

The panelists included were Jeffrey S. Vitter, executive vice chancellor and provost; Tammara Durham, vice provost for Student Affairs; Nathan Thomas, vice provost for Diversity and Equity; Jane McQueeny, Title IX coordinator and executive director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Equity; and Ralph Oliver, chief of KU police.

Audience members were invited to submit their own questions at the beginning of the event as well. Anyone in the KU community could also submit questions in advance through the chancellor's website.

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