Ending Sexualized Violence
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Sexualized violence affects us all. It is a guarantee that the person reading this has in some way themselves experienced this violence (harassment, stalking, sexual assault) directly or knows someone who has. And, given all the recent events in the media concerning Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and others, it is incredibly apparent that we must do something to change our culture and prevent future harm. It is for this reason we are proposing to make the "Act to End Sexualized Violence" class taught here at HSU mandatory under general ed area E. This is a remarkably effective class about the issues of rape culture and bystander complicity. Mandating this class will help to make HSU a much safer environment for all who attend it, and “prepare students to take on the commitments of critical inquiry, social responsibility and civic engagement necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century” as is stated in the Humboldt State Mission Statement. We will present this petition to the dean of The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences here at HSU along with our full proposal for mandating this class. Read on below for the proposal.
Proposal: Act to End sexualized violence
To: Dean Bond-Maupin
We are writing to you as students of Humboldt State University to make a proposal regarding the seminar “Act To End Sexualized Violence” taught by Maxwell D Schnurer which we believe would make an excellent addition to Area E General Education, as it is a remarkably effective class about the issues of rape culture and bystander complicity. This class will help to make HSU a more safe environment for all who attend it, and “prepare students to take on the commitments of critical inquiry, social responsibility and civic engagement necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century” as is stated in the Humboldt State Mission Statement. Further, it fills a gap in our current Area E course offerings.
Teaching such a course, especially in light of the present political administration’s attack on Title IX, would send a message consistent with Humboldt’s mission statement. We promise to provide a safe, diverse campus. If we do not educate people on this subject, we are not doing all we can to provide safety everyone in our student body; the very group this campus is built upon. If our reputation is one of progress, how could we neglect to include as part of human integration department, a course that makes progress toward safety for all members of our community? If our mission is to prepare students to take social responsibility, how can we fail to educate them on a subject that is a pervasive issue in our society?
Mandating this course would not only positively impact our community here at Humboldt State, but it would also save the school money in the long run. The procedure following sexual assault investigation and reporting, while necessary, does cost time and resources in the form of investigators, board meetings and decisions, and time the student and faculty have to spend dealing with the aftermath of this trauma. Sexualized violence dramatically changes the lives of its victims, and students would be less likely to drop out or quit attending HSU if they are in a safe environment free from assault. And, for victims of this violence, having a community that is educated on being survivor centered would make the avenues for recovery and healing more plentiful in an understanding and caring environment.
As it is currently formatted, the class occurs over the course of three days. This format allows for the class to potentially be offered multiple times a semester, allowing for students to fulfill this requirement with relative ease. The only foreseeable issue would be finding another teacher to teach the material with as much care and concern as Mr. Schnurer has done over the past years.
However, since we are focusing on creating a survivor centered community here on campus, it should be written into this class that should a survivor come forward with concerns about their own mental and physical well being that may arise from taking this class, they should be granted an exemption from taking this specific class or be presented with a substitution for the requirement. This class provides crucial information that will help reduce sexualized violence on campus, and we should absolutely hold each student accountable for creating a safe environment, while also protecting those who have already undergone severe trauma. As is stated in the HSU Mission statement values, “We believe in the dignity of all individuals, in fair and equitable treatment, and in equal opportunity…”. It is for this reason we must always consider the outcomes of our best intentions and seek to cause as little harm as possible to those on their healing journeys from sexualized violence.
We urge you to consider this proposal, and hope that you see all its merits. Mandating the Act to End Sexualized Violence course is an easy way to create a safer campus for all, and further support HSU’s reputation as a socially conscious institution.
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