Professors join student protests against sexual assault


Students and demonstrators on the steps of Bovard, chanting and waving signs. (Emmett Fuchs | Daily Trojan Horse)

Beneath the banners celebrating USC Reunion Weekend, faculty and students held signs reading “Rapists and Rapists Off Campus Now!” for the “Save our Students” rally in the wake of last week’s sexual assault and drug reports at the Fellowship Houses on The Row.

Along Trousdale, the group of over 25 faculty and students marched under a “USC Homecoming” banner to the Bovard Steps where they chanted “Ethical Leadership Now”, “Proactive, Not Pro-Optic” and ” Let’s see the reports, ”the latter referring to the lack of transparency surrounding the sexual abuse of former gynecologist George Tyndall.

Amelia Jones, associate dean of academics and research at the Roski School of Design, said she attended the protest to support students and bridge the gap between USC’s board of trustees, the administration and “everyone currently on campus”. The divide, Jones said, comes down to a lack of communication on the part of the administration and the board’s focus on fundraising.

“This is really just one of many issues that testify to the real gap between administration and everyone on campus,” Jones said. “I just want there to be communication so that they understand what we’re doing. And I don’t see that happening.

As students and faculty chanted, the provost and senior vice president of academic affairs Charles Zukoski came out and spoke to protesters about the Department of Public Safety’s crime notices and USC’s handling of the reports. sexual assault in recent years.

Protesters suggested to Zukoski that if eliminating fraternities is a way to end sexual violence, the University should take that step.

“There is sexual violence everywhere. It’s disgusting what we are faced with, ”Zukoski said, adding that the university was not considering abolishing Greek life. “I am certainly not defending the Greek fraternity and society, all I am saying is that this is a deeply problematic issue for all of our culture and our society. It’s not just the Greek campus system, it’s pervasive throughout our society and it’s abhorrent. “

A student also asked Zukoski to increase campus sexual assault resources, including increasing funding for the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center and establishing a Rape Support Center. .

“For years, students have been asking for a rape aid center in the main student health center Engemann,” they said.

“I agree, and it’s under consideration. What I’m trying to emphasize is that it’s more complicated, ”Zukoski said and added that there is a long certification process for rape centers.

Pressed by protesters to make changes to Greek life, Zukoski said removing fraternity certification could lead to less regulated underground organizations.

“What we could do is decertify. But that doesn’t mean organizations are disappearing. In other institutions I’ve been to – when you revoke a fraternity or sorority certification, they can continue to have parties and recruit members, ”Zukoski said. “So that’s one of the reasons – not just USC – but other institutions continue to want to work with these groups, because at least if they’re certified by us, we can impose rules.”

Marshal Charles Zukoski speaks with professors and students outside Bovard. (Ignacio Ventura-Maqueda Jr. | Daily Trojan Horse)

Donald Bohlinger, a 35-year USC film professor, said he attended the protest to support the students and because of his long-standing concerns about sexual assault at the university.

“[The protest] is about a lot of things, and it’s been a while to come, ”said Bohlinger. “It’s time to have a real conversation about all of these issues and how we approach what’s been going on on this campus for too long. “

At around noon, students and faculty gathered on the lawn of Cactus Garden One National Gay & Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries for a faculty forum on Gender Studies of Sexual Violence to Address Gender Issues in Sexual Violence. sexual assault in college.

Faculty members listened to students share their stories of negative experiences with Greek life, sexual assault and demands for reform.

Karen Tongson, chair of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, said she wanted to provide a forum for students to “voice their concerns and rage” and the “lack of responsibility they feel” from of the University.

“There are so many students whose needs are not being met,” Tongson said. It was absolutely necessary. As much as I am glad that there have been a lot of people who feel safe coming here, I am very upset and disappointed that so many of our students feel helpless and helpless.

The protest began in Trousdale, under banners that greeted former students for USC reunion weekend. (Emmett Fuchs | Daily Trojan Horse.)

Kathleen Loftus, a philosophy and comparative literature graduate who attended the event outside of Bovard, said that during her time at USC she witnessed numerous scandals, many of which involved sexual assault. Loftus said she appreciated the “solidarity with students and faculty” during today’s protest.

“One of my teachers was talking about it in class, and it was the first time I had heard someone in the faculty talk about it,” Loftus said. “I felt very listened to and I am very grateful that the teachers also have their problems and that we can all support each other.”

Ignacio Ventura-Maqueda Jr. contributed to this report.

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