According to CNN, in the current federal administration, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her department are making efforts to rescind Title IX. A portion of this law deals with how sexual violence is handled on college campuses, if it is at all.
“We need to take action as a student body,” Jenni Ferruzca stated. “Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs.”
Andrea Diaz and Ferruzca, both sophomores, crafted an open letter to President Dan Martin that urges the university to uphold the original standards of Title IX in order to keep more students on campus safe.
The letter was posted at the end of their “Ashton Speaks” presentation to collect signatures from students, and will continue to collect signatures in winter quarter.
Co-presidents of the Intersectional Feminism club Yajaira Roque and Mackenzie Russell applauded Diaz and Ferruzca and plan to help their efforts to collect signatures in the new quarter.
Russell stated that securing Title IX at Seattle Pacific through Diaz and Ferruzca’s letter is a great example of how the two women are acting to make solutions on campus.
“Since day one, both Jenni and Drea were like, ‘What are we doing? What are we as a club doing to not only discuss issues but to take action?’” Roque said.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) reported that one in 5 women and one in 16 men experience forms of sexual violence while in college.
“We really want to motivate people to understand that their voice matters and that they are capable of making a change. But it doesn’t take one person to make a change, it takes everyone who is part of the community who is willing and able to participate,” Ferruzca said.
The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) also reported that over 1 in 5 of transgender, genderqueer and non-conforming college students have experienced sexual assault.
Utilizing these numbers, this means approximately 513 SPU students will experience or have experienced sexual violence on campus, Diaz explained. This statistic is larger than the number of Ashton residents, she added.
“We want to ensure that people know that it’s not their fault and that they’re not alone.
There are people on campus who understand and are striving to make a difference,” Diaz said. “RAINN states that no one is responsible for sexual assault except for the perpetrator.”
The NSVRC defines consent as permission for something to happen, or agreement to do something.
“But consent is more than yes or no,” Ferruzca stressed. “It is a dialogue about desires, needs and level of comfort with different sexual actions.”
On and off campus resources were passed around the room as well as additional resource booklets provided by SPU’s Office of Safety and Security.
“As someone who has experienced sexual violence, I know it’s important to have a discussion in order to create action,” stated Emma Miskel, an Ashton resident.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, here are on and off campus resources available.
Office of Safety and Security
24-hour resource phone number: (206) 281-2911
Student Counseling Center
Online Reporting at SPU
Select the first hyperlink titled “Office of Safety and Security”
Select “Report a crime” on the left hand side
King County Sexual Assault Resource Center
24-hour resource phone number: (888) 988-6423
Rape Abuse and Incrst National Network (RAINN)
Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress
YWCA Sexual Violence Legal Services
(206) 832-3632 or 1(888) 998-6423