SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements took center stage Wednesday evening in San Luis Obispo.
Students are mobilizing on campus and hoping to build upon the momentum that we’ve seen nationwide.
They’re frustrated with how Cal Poly has handled reports of sexual assault and harassment and a packed town hall gave victims a voice.
Mick Bruckner says he’s had a terrible experience with Cal Poly’s Office of Equal Opportunity.
“I had a professor who targeted me because I was gay and the University told me they fired this faculty and it turned out they didn’t, they just lied to me,” said Mick Bruckner, a Senior at California Polytechnic State University.
The Time's Up Cal Poly Organizer says his peers came together to form Time's Up Cal Poly after a “turbulent” and “horrendous” quarter for survivors and allies.
“We should have a right to an education without being sexually assaulted on campus and we also have a right for when that does happen, to be addressed seriously by the administration in a productive way,” said Bruckner.
Sexual assault victims are speaking out and demanding that university administrators take concrete steps to address the issues.
“Cal Poly does a really bad job of addressing rape culture,” said a student who asked not to be identified.
“I think Cal Poly not only has a huge problem with addressing sexual violence, deep down doesn’t want to address it at all,” said one of the #MeToo Town Hall Panel Speakers.
Students say in the last two years, Cal Poly received 140 complaints of Title IX sexual misconduct and the university only formally investigated 44.
“I also am a survivor of sexual assault so this is a personal cause for me and I don’t want to have to see anybody ever go through it,” said Gina Welisch, Times Up Cal Poly Organizer.
Organizers hope this opens the lines of communication and they’re calling on university leaders to acknowledge that there is an epidemic of sexual assault and harassment on campus.
“The time is up for Cal Poly,” said Cal Poly student Alejandro.
Bruckner says the group is committed to escalating this situation until the administration meets all 9 of their demands.
The nine demands are as follows:
1. Student organizations with multiple perpetrators of sexual assault are to be disbanded immediately.
2. We demand a legal fund for survivors.
3. We demand a statement, in writing, from President Armstrong, that acknowledges the epidemic of sexual assault and harassment on our campus, and also commits his administration to action.
4. We demand long-term mental healthcare and academic support for all survivors.
5. We demand the administration reinstate the campus escort service up to 1 mile off campus.
6. We demand more resources and funding allocated to Safer based on the recent influx in cases.
7. We demand that the administration remove all perpetrators of sexual assault from campus housing.
8. We demand that the administration remove all perpetrators of sexual assault (especially the serial rapist reported on last Fall) from campus immediately.
9. We demand that student fees may not be used to pay for these increased services.
According to Matt Lazier, Cal Poly’s Media Relations Director, the University’s Dean of Students, Kathleen McMahon, was in attendance and she got up and addressed the group toward the end of the gathering.
Lazier says President Armstrong and Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey, were also invited, but “unfortunately they had commitments out of town that prevented their attendance.”
Officials say Vice President Humphrey will be viewing a recording of the gathering and will provide a briefing on it to the president.
“Sexual misconduct in all of its forms is unwelcome at Cal Poly, and university administration supports its campus community members in voicing their concerns about the issue, so that those voices can inform the ongoing campus dialogue. University administration believes that the occurrence of any sexual misconduct on campus must be addressed, and the university works diligently through a variety of investigative and support programs to address any and all reports received, as appropriately and thoroughly as possible. Until such time as sexual misconduct no longer occurs on campus, administration will continue engaging with the campus community to determine how best to constantly improve its investigative and support services and its overall approach to the issue,” said Lazier.