The Student Government Association stepped in and voted unanimously this summer to allocate $11,000 to Sexual Assault Response Advocates in order to continue their advocacy work on campus after the organization ran into problems with funding.
A change in funding parameters by the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the group that previously funded SARA, left no funds to SARA for it to operate.
Also this summer, Brock Turner, a former Stanford University student, was sentenced to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. He was released a week ago after only serving three months.
Stanford University responded to the incident by banning all hard liquor on campus, blaming the party culture for the sexual assaults that occur instead of placing the blame on perpetrators.
This is a prime example that there is much more work to be done in the education and prevention of sexual assaults on college campuses.
We applaud SARA for all its hard work in both of these areas on our campus, and it is obvious that the rest of campus feels the same.
We all know money at Simpson is usually tight; therefore, the emergency funding of $11,000 was not taken lightly. But we also know that the SARAs are doing great work on campus, and they deserve our support.
“The organization is very important to our campus and helps our fellow students incredibly,” said Tristan Carman, a junior senator. “As a SARA member, it is very important for us to receive funding from SGA in order to make sure that we were able to train the incoming SARAs, continue to do our programs throughout the school year and work with Crisis Intervention Services when we need to.”
Because Simpson is a close, tight-knit community, it is sometimes easy to say that sexual assault is something that doesn’t happen on our campus. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
In a report by Title IX Coordinator Rich Ramos, there were 20 reported incidents of sexual assault, harassment, domestic and dating violence or stalking on our campus in the past year. That number has risen significantly from past years.
The rise in reported incidents doesn’t necessarily mean that the occurrences have risen.
Instead, the stigma associated with reporting and being a survivor is being eliminated by the work advocates like the SARA members are doing.
The SARA program is a vital component of making Simpson students feel safe and welcome on campus. We commend the SGA, Rich Ramos and everyone who aided in the decision to support SARA in a time of need, as they continue to do for us.