To the Editor:
On behalf of the many Bucknellians to come across your editorial about sexual assault (Oct. 27), we would like to start off by thanking you for writing about an issue that has been a major problem on the Bucknell campus. We strongly agree with the editorial’s assertion that sexual assault is a big problem on campus; however, we feel that there is a disparity between The Bucknellian’s opinion and the way that opinion is conveyed.
The editorial argues that “what we need is a change in mindset that no committee or movement can accomplish alone,” in addition to saying that “signing a declaration to not tolerate sexual assault or wearing an ‘I (Heart) Consensual Sex’ button to promote a message is different than truly reforming behavior.” However, the point of this movement is to work with other movements (such as M4M and “Take Back the Night: For A Better Bucknell”) to “truly reform behavior.” Depreciating these efforts undermines any chance of creating positive change. If the “I (Heart) Consensual Sex” buttons and t-shirts are useless, why do we wear “gay? fine by me” t-shirts? Wearing these t-shirts shows support for individuals who sometimes suffer in silence in the wake of cruel treatment by their peers, which is also the way survivors of sexual assault who speak up are sometimes treated at Bucknell.
While we applaud your efforts to give constructive criticisms, we feel your recommendations for more non-alcoholic events does not target the source of the problem. The solution is not Bingo sponsored by ACE in the LC. What really needs to be changed is the environment of the alcoholic, and frankly more popular, activities. We need to talk about sexual assault and learn more about preventing it. It is necessary to educate the student body on the importance of consent. The absence of a “no” does not equal a “yes.” This line between “no” and “yes” is too often blurred by miscommunication and lack of communication has made this topic uncomfortable. Consent requires an enthusiastic and freely given “YES”! This way of looking at consent is not well known, but it should be.
The Bucknellian could work with us to increase rather than diminish conversation about sexual assault by printing sexual assaults from the “Public Safety Crime Log” or at least make it clear why you don’t. Maybe you could even start a column in which students write about the social scene at Bucknell–-from all different perspectives (e.g., greek, independent, CHOICE, athletes).
All of the efforts and movements you mention in your editorial initiate discussion, and discussion is the first step towards a better Bucknell. The Bucknellian can do its part as well.
The students in FOUND 91-34: Gender & Philosophy and creators of the “I <3 Consensual Sex” campaign