KU students stage sit-in in response to school’s handling of alleged sexual assault

·2 min read

Dozens of University of Kansas students angered at how school officials handled a recent report of a sexual assault staged a sit-in Friday in front of the chancellor’s office.

A student last weekend was allegedly drugged and raped during a house party at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house.

The incident prompted protests on Monday and Tuesday calling for university officials to take action against the fraternity as well as the alleged perpetrator.

On Friday, students gathered for a sit-in at Strong Hall. They changed a placard at the entrance of the office of the chancellor, renaming it “Office of the Complicit,” and taped other signs with messages to the glass windows at Chancellor Doug Girod’s office.

Laura Phillips, a graduate student pursing a master’s degree in classical languages, said she had gone through a similar traumatic experience and does not think the university does enough to support survivors. She said she wanted to see accountability as well as training and resources for professors, who students may disclose an assault to or look to for support.

Sophomore Kenya Holloway said she should feel safe at school and that the university has a history of pushing aside the issue of sexual assault to protect its reputation.

Student body president Niya McAdoo said one email sent by university officials addressing the incident was not enough and that she wanted to see university leaders such as Girod engage in a conversation with students. McAdoo said she was participating in the sit-in as an act of solidarity.

Earlier this week, Girod told The Star that the university had sufficient policies in place to address student concerns and that sexual assault was an ongoing university and cultural issue.

“Things don’t change overnight,” Girod said. “Regrettably it’s not confined to the Greek community by any stretch of the imagination, it’s still a challenge across our society. As we are a community of 40,000 people we reflect our society.”

Lawrence police said in a statement that they were aware of “an incident involving a possible sexual assault,” but said they would not provide details to protect the privacy of the victim.

If you or someone you know needs help, the Kansas Crisis Hotline can be reached at 1-888-363-2287.

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