Sexual assault is a real problem. As reported in this week’s issue by news editor Maggie McVey, a study by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control found that one in five women experience sexual assault in her lifetime. Furthermore, 19 percent of undergraduate women have been the victim of attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college.
Recently, the SUNY system has taken a supporting stance for a bill, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, that will force colleges to better address the issue of sexual assault on their campuses.
This is a huge step forward, and it has been tremendous to see Plattsburgh State take the initiative on improving awareness and activism on campus. There are already a number of terrific resources for students. Health Educator and Outreach Coordinator Rhema Lewis, the Health Center and even the resident directors and assistants on campus all have varying degrees of training to help spread awareness, support victims and create a cultural change on campus.
Even with this, Vice President of Student Affairs Bryan Hartman has already acknowledged that the school can further improve how the PSUC community responds to acts of sexual violence, and this new state bill would only help the cause.
With the college arming itself to combat this issue, Cardinal Points encourages the students at PSUC to help in any way they can. Instead of just taking an opposing stance to sexual assault, go out of your way to support victims and create change.
With the campus increasing the number of tools available to fight this issue, it would greatly benefit everyone for more people to take advantage and get involved in the movement to finally confront the issue head-on.
But this can do only so much. The real crux of the issue is the need for more people to stand up to those around them and challenge them, especially in the less-regulated world of off-campus parties. The college will affect only those willing to listen, but the sad reality is that a large portion of the campus community will not be as receptive to the message.
So we here at Cardinal Points issue every student on this campus a challenge. Don’t brush aside the topic of sexual assault because it doesn’t affect you, or because you simply don’t think it does, or maybe because you just don’t want to talk about a fairly uncomfortable topic. But students on this campus far outnumber the faculty and administration. And the only way we can create change is getting the student body involved.
That starts with you.