It has come to our attention that the contract of an employee of the Advocacy Center for Sexual Violence, is not being renewed at the end of this semester. This information has not yet been openly disclosed to the public, nor has an adequate explanation as to her termination been provided. We, concerned students, alumni, faculty, staff, and allies, demand answers; specifically, the following.
Firstly, we demand more transparency in the hiring, firing, and employment status of university staff. While we understand that this may be difficult to provide for every university employee, staff whose primary responsibilities include fostering connections with students for emotional and mental support are thereby depended on by members of the campus community and expected to offer a sense of stability. While one may leave his or her position in such a role for any number of reasons, students should be alerted to these changes in employment status in order to make appropriate changes to their self-care regimen.
Secondly, we demand an open forum in which these decisions can be discussed openly with students. As students contribute to both the financial and emotional health of the university, it is necessary that we are alerted to any changes in the budget or cultural climate that apparently require the termination of valued employees.
Thirdly, we demand more resources be made available in which students can openly discuss both sexual assault and their concerns with the university’s current advocacy initiatives. The termination of such a position leaves students with limited resources in the Advocacy Center, despite the many testimonies from students and alum citing incompetence. Students must be provided more on-campus alternatives to the guidance of the remaining members of the Advocacy Center, as well as information of off-campus resources such as the Crime Victim & Sexual Violence Center. Simply making this information available on a website is not enough; these resources should be publicized to the same extent as our on-campus Advocacy Center, even if it doesn’t reel in the same profits or veneer of public image. As your office has continuously stressed “community engagement,” we ask that you live up to these standards you purport to achieve.
Lastly, we demand the immediate renewal of Advocacy Center employees' contracts, including a statement from the university president acknowledging our concerns and the need for expansion of resources in the fight against sexual assault in our campus community.