Signatures of Support

2110 Rally for Sexual Assault Centre

Student rallyiers make a stand for a sexual assault centre on campus. photo erin sparks

A group from the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy rallied from the top to the bottom of the Hall Building March 5 to raise awareness, gain support and solicit signatures for a sexual assault centre on campus.

The proposed centre would support a 24-hour crisis hotline, support network and improve university policies on sexual assault.

With a core group of five people, advocates visited each floor in what Programming and Campaigns Coordinator at the 2110 Centre Bianca Mugyenyi said was a successful initiative on Monday.

They added at least 150 signatures to a petition that is currently 1,000 names strong.

“The biggest obstacle at this point is a lack of funding from the university for sexual assault services, a space and someone to coordinate,” said Mugyenyi.

There are also major problems with the policies that the university uses to deal with sexual crimes on campus. The use of inaccessible language and a lack of distinction between sexual harassment and sexual assault, coupled with the absence of sensitivity training for security officers are among the polices that 2110 claims are in need of reform.

“We really need a section out of the policy that is directly related to sexual assault and clear avenues for where people can go to get advocacy and counseling,” said Mugyenyi.

The group is currently working on drafting recommendations to the administration that will ensure university policies can properly address campus sexual safety.

While Mugyenyi says that the rally came on a chaotic day with all the strike actions kicking off, she was able to draw parallels between the fight for education and their campaign.

“It really struck me when I was walking through the Hall Building that what a lot of students are searching for is an accessible campus, a campus that they can afford to go to,” said Mugyenyi. “Similarly, we want an accessible campus where people are safe.”

The group plans to hold more rallies in the future, with the goal of getting 5,000 signatures and getting more students involved.