On Sunday, April 28, the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) unanimously passed a resolution titled “Community Initiatives to Alleviate Sexual Assault and Harassment at the University.” Among other initiatives to reduce the number of sexual assaults on campus, the resolution bans any student guilty of sexual misconduct, harassment, or assault from joining the WSA. The resolution comes after many weeks of WSA meetings concerning sexual assault on campus.
“[The WSA points] to longstanding concerns of student safety on campus particularly in regards to sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and relationship violence,” the resolution reads.
Principal sponsor of the resolution and Chair of the Student Affairs Committee Kate Cullen ’16 described the changes she hopes the resolution will bring about.
“While no single action can make our campus an absolutely safe space, I hope the changes proposed in the resolution will move us closer towards that goal,” Cullen wrote in an email to The Argus. “In addition, I framed the resolution to present initiatives we can take as a community to work on this problem, so I hope the resolution will bring us closer as a community in our shared goal to eradicate sexual assault on campus.”
Co-President of Students for Consent and Communication (SFCC) Nina Gurak ’16, one of the drafters of the resolution, spoke about the construction of the resolution.
“It was based off a proposal that SFCC drafted to the Administration recommending specific policy changes,” Gurak wrote in an email to The Argus. “These changes were collected from fellow students, our experience with peer institutions, and in conversation with CT Sexual Assault Crisis Services.”
Cullen also discussed how, unlike other recent WSA resolutions, the resolution was not related to the debate about the role of fraternities on campus; rather, it focused solely on sexual assault.
“Our conversation about sexual assault in fraternity spaces specifically has been very valuable and enlightening, but I wanted to be sure survivors who have experienced sexual violence in other spaces on campus also had a voice,” Cullen wrote.