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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Students protest university’s response to rape case

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg
Esther Aviles and other Empowerment members sit-in on the fourth floor of the AMU in protest of Marquette’s response to the Jane Doe case.

Marquette Empowerment, Young Democratic Socialists, and College Democrats united this afternoon to protest the Title IX Office’s handling of Jane Doe’s sexual assault case that occurred in 2014.

The sit-in was initially supposed to take place in the Student Affairs office on Alumni Memorial Union’s 4th floor. However, university officials refused to let the three organizations enter, and they had to move to the hallway.

“We are trying to convey that their past treatment of survivors of sexual assault is not acceptable. Time and again they have shown support for offenders,  not survivors, and that is unacceptable,” Tess Bridges, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

Bridges is on the executive board for Marquette Empowerment. Currently, the organizations responding to the lawsuit against Marquette involving Jane Doe’s alleged sexual assault.

“We’re here to show support for Jane Doe and her lawsuit against Marquette,” Seth Haines, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

Haines is co-leader of Marquette’s Young Democratic Socialists.

“They should ensure that all victims feel supported and feel safe, and that isn’t going on,” Haines said.

The Title IX office contacted the organizations involved and asked them not to do the sit-in and offered to answer any questions they had in a different location.

“If they ask us to leave again we will find another public location to address this because we are not giving up,” Bridges said.

“We recognize issues in regards to sexual violence at Marquette,” Haines said.  “If they want to suppress our voices, we will fight it.”

Brian Dorrington, senior director of communication, issued a statement this afternoon.

“We share their passion. We, too, recognize and appreciate the need to advocate for all victims of sexual assault,” Dorrington said.

“The Office of Civil Rights and Department of Education sent a letter to Marquette describing the treatment of a different case where the university once again devalued the experiences of a survivor when they did not take action against repeated sexual harassment,” Bridges said.

“We see these problems, want them fixed and we are going to demand them,” Haines said.

While the university is committed to free expression, the means of protest creates a tense environment, Dorrington said.

“The Title IX office is a place where victims must feel welcome at any time and know their confidentiality will be upheld,” Dorrington said. “The mere presence of a demonstration, regardless of its intent, creates an intimidating and unwelcoming environment, which is counter to our common goal: protecting victims.”

The organizations are currently in the process of seeking support from the university’s board of trustees for more funding for Title IX.

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    Sam BufeSep 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Remarkably little reporting about the incident itself.