Roosevelt @ Mason’s day of action on campus sexual assault

Emma GWU Red Cup Action
COgRBO6UYAAUwD8 (1)

THE PROBLEM

Historically, colleges and universities have played a passive role in the prevention and education directly relating to sexual assault and rape on their campuses. Common statistics are all too real for far too many students embarking on a path towards higher education. One in five women in college will be sexually assaulted at some point in her college career, and upwards of 79% of these attacks are committed under the influence of alcohol. The pervasive social culture of alcohol consumption that comes ingrained through “the collegiate experience” is one of the biggest contributors to these sexual assault and rape cases.

OUR SOLUTION

We want action. We want a change. We want accountability. The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), a department within the state government that collects the tax dollars made off of alcohol purchases, brings in over $134 million in profits every year. These dollars are not spent on the social welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth, but they should be. We ask that the Virginia ABC allocate one-fifth of its annual profit to be used to support 24-hour nurses at every college in Virginia, as well as preventative programs handling education surrounding sexual assault. 20% of the Virginia ABC budget is a small price to pay compared to the 20% of women across the Commonwealth who face sexual assault each year in college. Read the full policy proposal here.

THE PROJECT

In order to gain substantial institutional support and increase the visibility for this policy proposal as well as the topic of campus sexual assault, the Roosevelt @ Mason team hosted a demonstration on September 10, 2015 in the center of George Mason University. The demonstration consisted of red plastic cups laid out in the central courtyard to represent each victim of sexual assault at George Mason this year. In 2015, that number will reach 3,440. The cups project came at the end of a week of action put on by the Equal Justice small policy group within Roosevelt @ Mason. In addition to the visual demonstration, the group hosted an esteemed panel to discuss how sexual assault and policy work together with students and community members. These events were supplemented with extensive tabling by the Roosevelt team, student health services at the school, and institutional wellness groups that focus on psychological and emotional services.

Following the visual demonstration, the chapter has kept up the pressure placed on administration, local government, and state-wide stakeholders to accept our policy proposal.

Read coverage of the event here!