The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

FIA-STARSA initiates discussion of college's sexual assault policy

By David Seitz

Noting the scarcity of clear information about sexual assault prevention available to students, the student organization Feminists in Action-Students Together Against Rape and Sexual Assault is working across campus to strengthen preventive outreach and programming. Members are also examining the current college policy on rape and sexual assault.Currently, Macalester’s policies on sexual assault, as well as information about prevention and response, remain all to obscure, FIA-STARSA co-chair Becca Holohan ’10 said.

“We were concerned that there was not clear and easy access to information,” Holohan said. “How can we get the policy published in a way so that people can clearly understand it? How can we get it posted in the dorm halls so people can know what it is? How can we incorporate information about sexual assault and connections between sexual violence and drinking into orientation programming in a way that’s mandatory, in a way that reaches a lot of students?”

The organization also aims to raise awareness and use of existing programs designed to prevent violence, including sexual assault, such as the campus Safe Walk program.

Designed to provide students walking within a one mile radius of campus with a student escort to ensure safety, Safe Walk is barely functional, Holohan said.

“We’ve arranged calls to Safe Walk and gotten, ‘Hey, you know, nobody showed up for duty tonight,'” Holohan said. “They told us it happens all the time. One of our members used Safe Walk, and she was told she was the only person who had called that semester. That’s a problem.”

Overall, Holohan said, the group hopes to change Macalester’s largely silent climate around preventing and addressing sexual assault.

“We’re seeking to create a larger conversation and presence about these issues,” Holohan said.

“At Macalester, we don’t really talk a lot about sexual assault or women’s issues or violence against women on campus or off campus,” Holohan said. “FIA-STARSA is a space for people to begin talking about ways they’d like to see a new climate happen.

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