With a report to the administration from the Committee investigating the incident at Lip Sync expected later today, the campus discussion on sexual assault has continued through the week. Students who met to discuss the original incident organized an event on Thursday called “What is Rape Culture?: Sexual Misconduct at the College of Wooster” with the aim of raising awareness about the issue on campus.
Throughout the week, students tabled in the front of Lowry lobby explaining this event and handing out teal bandanas and cards listing local resources for survivors of sexual harassment, assault and violence. At 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, the library bells chimed and students who participated put on the bandanas and gathered in the Oak Grove. The event featured speakers and students discussing what rape culture means and how it affects them. The event concluded with the group signing a statement about ending rape culture.
Scott McLellan ’15 was one of the students who helped to plan the event and is a member of the new campus group End Rape Culture at Wooster.
“People often think that you become a survivor of sexual harassment or violence when you are physically or verbally attacked,” McLellan said. “This group is important because I feel it to be our message that we create survivors when we perpetuate a culture in which it is a single person’s responsibility to not be harassed or assaulted.”
Both McLellan and Gina Christo ’14 acknowledged that while the group and the event are reactions to the Lip Sync incident, the problem is far larger than just what happened. “This is not Beta’s fault; their performance was a breaking point,” McLellan said. “I don’t think there was any conscious malicious intent associated with that performance.”
“The objective of this new student group is not to punish one group that made a mistake,” Christo said. “It’s to make a larger commentary on the culture.”
Kelsey Jandrey ’13 was one of the speakers at the event on Thursday. Jandrey regretted that the group did not get its start until near the end of her senior year when this problem has existed for a very long time here.
“It saddens me that it took this incident to make people care, but at least people care now,” she said.
McLellan and Christo plan on continuing the End Rape Culture at Wooster group into next year. They hope to replace No Means No at first-year orientation with something more accessible and less jovial in nature. Both also see problems with the infrastructure of the College on the issue of sexual assault, ranging from the responses of Security, the Wellness Center and the Administration to the general climate of comfort reporting these assaults. Their hope is to work towards changing these issues next year.