This student saw a need to fight sexual violence at K-State, so she took action

Campus Climate and Safety Director Mariana Cruz is working to assemble a force against sexual violence. (Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

Mariana Cruz, campus climate and safety director on the Student Governing Association executive cabinet, opened applications on a new task force aimed at preventing sexual violence on campus.

The Wildcat Task Force Against Sexual Violence, Cruz said, was inspired by Wildcats Against Sexual Violence, a student organization. Cruz said after attending a meeting of the organization and speaking with representatives from the CARE office, she found there was more members of the Kansas State family could be doing to combat sexual violence.

“I saw a need for students and faculty to take ownership and responsibility of the fight against sexual violence and I knew that this is what I wanted to focus my efforts on as a cabinet member,” Cruz said.

Cruz said her goal for the task force is for it to be made up of dedicated people from all across campus, whether that be students or faculty, that will work together to evaluate how K-State deals with incidents of the nature as well as provide specific, feasible and measurable recommendations when it comes to how the university should respond.

Heather Reed, senior associate dean and director of student life, said she thinks it’s beneficial to look at policies and as such, the processes associated with the rules. She will serve as the ex-officio member of the task force.

“It allows us to see if there are any new challenges or needs and allows us the ability to help fix them,” Reed said via email.

This task force, which is made up of 15 students, will focus both on campus and the community as a whole, Cruz said.

“Seeing as K-State students make up a large part of the population for the majority of the year, our campus culture directly affects the community and having a safer campus and students who are actively engaged in putting an end to sexual violence will translate into a safer Manhattan for everyone,” Cruz said.

The task force will begin its biweekly meetings in October to review the effectiveness and prevention efforts in place as well as the enforcement of the student code PM3010.

“Students can be involved by volunteering for the task force or send comments and suggestions to us,” Reed said.