BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — On Tuesday, anger struck Virginia Tech as dozens of students gathered, demanding the administration come up with a comprehensive response to sexual violence on campus following several reports of assault over the last month.
One by one, protesters rallied on the steps of Burruss Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 28, screaming, “We need action, we need a change, we need to be heard.”
The United Feminist Movement says that only a month into the semester, there has already been a string of sexual assaults that occurred at university-sponsored events.
In fact, the Hokie community has received warnings about a number of on-campus sexual assaults reported to the Virginia Tech Police Department since late August:
- A sexual assault from Thursday, Aug. 19 outside of West Ambler Johnston Hall between two Virginia Tech students who were acquaintances prior to the incident.
- A sexual assault from Friday, Aug. 20 in the Lane Stadium parking lot between two Virginia Tech students who did not know each other prior to the incident.
- Two sexual assaults from Friday, Aug. 27 on the Drillfield during the Kickoff Concert. The victims are Virginia Tech students who did not know the alleged offender prior to the incident.
- The Virginia Tech Police Department issued another alert on Thursday, Sept. 9 saying that additional sexual assaults were reported from Friday, Aug. 27 that occurred on the Drillfield inside the dense crowd during the Kickoff Concert. However, the affiliation of the victims and alleged offenders is unknown at this time.
- A sexual assault from Friday, Sept. 3 inside Lane Stadium, but the victim and the alleged offender did not know each other prior to the incident.
- A sexual assault from Saturday, Sept. 18 in Hoge Hall between two Virginia Tech students who were acquaintances prior to the incident.
Carolina Bell, the president of the United Feminist Movement, says enough is enough.
“In 2019, the Title IX office at Virginia Tech conducted a climate survey and the finding of this climate survey showed that 41 percent of students experienced some level of sexual harassment,” Bell said. “The other finding was that women of color were concerned about sexual violence at Virginia Tech.”
Other protesters say Virginia Tech’s priorities are in the wrong place.
“It’s really important to show solidarity for the undergrads who deserve to have a safe college experience, but to also push and change how Virginia Tech treats sexual assault,” said graduate student Jazmine Jurkiewicz.
According to one Blacksburg resident, she was a victim of sexual assault on campus.
“The Virginia Tech Police Department and the Blacksburg Police Department have not done enough justice to these survivors. I am here because rapists need to be held accountable,” said Juliana Kratman Miranda.
On Thursday, Sept. 23, President Tim Sands released a letter to the Hokie community, saying the university is committed to confronting and addressing sexual violence on campus.
Sands also urged people to read a statement issued by university officials and law enforcement on Thursday about the safety, security, and resources available to students impacted by sexual assault.
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