Over 450 Columbia students sent school administrators a “letter of noncompliance” regarding the school’s “sexual respect” program — which all students were to have completed by March 13.
Students complained that the program “did not address failures in the University’s sexual assault policy and was unclear in its overall purpose.”
A day before the official due date for completion, the Columbia Daily Spectator had detailed the frustration many had with the new mandate.
This latest turn of events, however, has activists focused more on the (supposed) shortcomings of the college’s sexual assault policies, rather than the hassles many had experienced in attempting to fulfill the obligation.
“We’re being asked to participate in these requirements by a University administration that has not acknowledged that it’s under federal investigation, let alone apologized for the failings for which it’s under investigation,” Alix Rule, a sociology Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences who drafted the letter with other students in her department, said.
“Overall, it puts responsibility on the individuals, but it takes away responsibility from the institution,” Olivia Nicol, a sociology Ph.D. student in GSAS who helped draft the letter, said. “The problem is that Columbia has not recognized clearly what happened, logically publicized it, or admitted any guilt.”
Andrea Crow, an English and comparative literature Ph.D. student in GSAS, said she signed the petition because she saw the program and its use of phrases such as “sexual respect” as a way of sweeping existing issues under the rug.
Rule added that “The people who signed on are not lazy or evading the issue. They [administrators] should regard our non-participation as the conscientious expression of our position on the institutional handling of the issue of sexual assault. We’re disappointed.”