Wednesday, February 7 – Sexual Assault has been a heavily discussed topic throughout the course of the 2017 – 2018 school year. Student organizations such as OxSAPA, ReVision and SGA have been leading figures in this discussion, their time and effort resulting in the naming of a Respect Advocate-adjacent named Heather Jones back in November of 2017.
A balance of power, along with differences of opinion on how to handle sexual assault legislation at Oxford has caused an unspoken animosity between the these student organizations.
With hopes to form a better line of communication as well expedite a plan for collaboration with the student body on sexual assault issues, SGA drafted a bill that would create a sexual assault and misconduct committee.
However, a clerical error was made by one of the SGA members, and the draft of the new committee was made public on the OrgSync page in which SGA communicates it’s weekly newsletter to the student body.
Due to the mistake, the committee that is meant to facilitate collaboration was created without it.
During SGA’s weekly open forum, both members and executives from OxSAPA and ReVision came and voiced their concerns with the way the creation of the new committee was handled and with SGA’s qualifications.
“You all need to get SAPA certified,” Mary Beth Bloomer, sophomore, said during the open forum, “Everyone needs to know these things if we all want to, as a community, do anything against sexual assault.”
SGA’s president Ben Palmer, sophomore, responded by saying it was the committee’s goal to become certified, and provided that scheduling issues inconvenienced their plans to do so.
“I hope that next year we can establish it to where all of us are forced to [become SAPA certified] through orientation, so it wont be an issue in the future,” Palmer said. “What you saw were the growing pains of trying to institutionalize something that has never been institutionalized before.”
The student organizations were also able to discuss other issues within the topic of sexual assault, as well as introduce either new or potential changes to the amendments of the first draft of SGA’s bill. However, this is not the last time members of ReVision and OxSAPA will be able to do so.
Though many had criticisms, they were deemed by the all committees as necessary.
“Yes, we have to be loud. Yes, we have to put a fire under your ass. But that is how we get things done,” Barbara Marin, sophomore President of ReVision, said.
Officially titled the “Sexual Assault and Misconduct Prevention Committee,” the organization looks to organize a week which promotes sexual assault awareness, as well as allocate $150 to any student organization that is willing to partner and help organize events for said week (presumably Revision and OxSAPA).