Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Students React to Racism and Sexual Assault On Campus

Shawn Olstein ’22

Staff Writer

On Thursday, Jan. 24, the Student Government Association (SGA) premiered a Peer Standards video during common hour in the Cave. The video was created in response to several behavioral issues around sexual assault, hate speech, and hate crimes. According to SGA President Kristina Miele, “Work on the video began over the summer and was finished last semester. However, it was decided to wait to release the video until the beginning of the second semester so that the video would be fresh on students’ minds.” Miele also stated that “the video was intended to give people a platform to educate themselves. It wasn’t just for students, it was for everyone, it was for faculty and staff too. The video was also intended to give students a platform to start a conversation and set a standard even if they aren’t directly affected by it.”

The video begins with clips of several articles from The Trinity Tripod describing a number of events relating to hate speech and sexual assault across campus. This includes incidences such as students using inappropriate speech and slurs, as well as incidents of students defacing signs or flags belonging to cultural clubs on campus. The video then cuts to clips of students. These clips make up the bulk of the near ten-minute video and feature student leaders from a variety of sports teams, clubs, and student organizations, sharing their thoughts on campus culture and how to solve the problems that the Trinity campus has recently faced.

The statements of these student leaders are aimed at setting a standard for behavior across campus and calling on students to watch their peers to make sure they act respectfully and appropriately. Peace Kabari ’20 was featured saying, “we need to be more comfortable being uncomfortable.” Eleanor Faraguna ’21 added, “students can have a moment or moments that can affect their entire experience here.” These statements represent a common sentiment among many of the students featured that students need to be more conscious of their actions as well as more willing to embrace the differences that many have with one another.  Other students featured in the Peer Standards video had clear condemnations of the acts of certain students on campus and stated that this was not the behavior of a Trinity student. This was illustrated in a statement by Tijani Harris ’22 who said, “whoever preformed these heinous acts on campus should not have the privilege to call themselves a Bantam.”  Finally, President of the Student Government Association Kristina Miele was featured in the video calling for a solution to the problems across campus, stating, “we need to put on cross collaborative events within different organizations to confront these issues.”

The video ended with a call to all students to get involved on campus to resolve these issues. If a student has any ideas for future projects, programs, or events that can help improve the climate on Trinity’s campus, they should send an email to sgapresident@trincoll.edu with their idea and how it could affect change.

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