By Rebecca Siegel
April 11, 2002
(Originally published by The Post the incomprehensible title “Confronted issues to make campus safer.”)
As I was looking through the paper, I cam across the letter to the editor, “Demands not likely to remedy violence problems on campus,” aout the demands a large group of students have recently brought to the administration. At first, while reading the letter, I was aggravated. Then, I laughed.
Of course, I was then aggravated again.
I don’t think that the writer understands what those who have met several times since the hate crime and sexual assaults are trying to do. Of course we know that we cannot constantly b safe. That is inevitable today, especially considering the recent events on campus and around the world. But the demands we are discussing with the university are aimed at attempting to make this place safer. I would rather feel safe on this campus than see absolutely nothing happen in the aftermath of several direct violations of peoples’ happiness and security.
The Women’s Studies certificate program here is a very good one. However, if yu were to ask a student of any other large university in the U.S. what kind of women’s studies program they have, a majority of them would say that they have a major program. Expanding OU’s certificate program into a full-fledged major is long overdue. It is not out of fear and hope that this program will change people that it should be extended, but out of the simple fact that it is about time to recognize women’s studies as a major.
The mandatory diversity class is designed to help people look at themselves and their prejudices. If everyone looks hard enough, I’m sure they will see some slight prejudice that, if addressed, can be dealt with and gotten rid of. And as for extending freshman orientation to provide sexual assault prevention programming for men and women, the idea is not to point the finger at anyone. The reason to address men and let them know the statistics and ways to prevent these things from happening is to keep them informed. While the large majority of assaults are in fact perpetrated by men, not one of the people at those meetings feel that all heterosexual males are guilty by virtue of their gender and everyone else is a chronic victim. The only was to get these acts to stop is to address the people most likely to commit these acts and show them how to stop it before it starts.
As for the women’s center, not one person said that those employed there would understand the problem of sexual assault. The idea behind a women’s center is to centralize resources and provide a safe place for women. On staff at the women’s center would be several people trained in helping those who are sexual assault survivors.
Creating a women’s center is designed to create a safe environment for all women. If you look around, this campus is generally filled with men. Everywhere you look is a men’s center, why not give women the same opportunity? The major problem seen at the last meeting dealt with money. Since the university feels the need to build an extremely expensive student center, why not give a portion of that new building to the 50 percent of the students at the school? Not a big deal.
All I would like to do now is extend a personal invitation to the writer to attend the next meeting about these demands so that he can better understand where we are all coming from. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday in Baker Center. Please come to try to actually understand what we want done here at the university.