Students involved in the #ChangeRapeCulture group organized a rally under the Sombrilla on Feb. 13 at 12 p.m. The purpose of the rally is to raise awareness of the group’s call to action and make their presence known.
“We’re hosting the protest to let people know that #ChangeRapeCulture is more than a hashtag, and although UTSA is providing services to sexual assault survivors, there is so much more that needs to be done, and we will not be silenced,” Khalani Valentine, a senior public health major and member of the group, said.
Josefina Fernandez, a junior political science major and co-organizer of the group, said the rally meant to call for procedural changes to the Equal Opportunity Services and Title IX office. The group also wants a required training programing for all students, faculty and staff to be integrated.
“In the end we want to create a safer environment for everyone that steps foot onto campus. People live, study, socialize and come to get degrees here, and we need to make sure everyone is safe from rape and assault,” Fernandez said.
On Feb. 11, President Eighmy sent a university-wide email announcing a new initiative to cultivate a zero-tolerance environment for all forms for sexual assault and misconduct.
“This is not easy work, and culture change does not happen overnight. But I am highly encouraged by the unwavering commitment of UTSA’s leadership; by the work that is already underway; and by the students, faculty and staff who have raised their voices in support of tackling these issues head-on,” Eighmy said in the email.
According to Fernandez, the organization spoke with AVP Public’s Safety and Chief of Police, Gerald Lewis; vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics and Athletics Director, Lisa Campos and interim dean of Students and Director of the Student Leadership Center and director of Student Life Initiatives, LT Robinson about the details of the rally.
“The university can make all the initiatives it likes, but our movement will still grow and be prevalent,” Katerina Tsvetkova, a senior public health major and co-organizer of the #ChangeRapeCulture, said.