K-State Without Rape: Students voice concerns about sexual assault on campus

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K-State President Richard Myers and Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Thomas Lane meet with students and alumni over concerns on bodily autonomy and Title IX allegations outside Myers’ residence. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Protests against sexual assault at the University of Kansas and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln sparked conversations on campuses around the nation. Monday evening, Kansas State students added their voices to those of the neighboring institutions.

The Center for Advocacy, Response, and Education and Wildcats Against Sexual Assault held a walk to protest sexual assault and address Title IX at K-State. WASV founder and K-State graduate Paige Eichkorn returned to Manhattan to help organize and lead the event.

Eichkorn spoke out about her experiences and why she founded WASV.

“I was raped my freshman year in Haymaker Hall,” Eichkorn said. “So with Wildcats Against Sexual Violence, I wanted to meet other survivors, give them a voice, connect and share our experiences.”

During the protest, students walked from Anderson Lawn to President Myers’ residence. A route, Eichkorn said, that made a statement.

(Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)
(Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

“By going to the head of the university, we were able to tell him he failed us and his overseeing of the Office of Institutional Equity,” Eichkorn said. “We wanted to let him know he is complicit and responsible.”

Myers released a statement in Thursday’s edition of K-State Today acknowledging student concerns and encouraging students to participate in the sexual assault climate survey, coming out later this month.

Myers said he wants victims to know he hears them.

“We’re doing our due diligence to make our next steps are effective,” Myers said. “Sexual assault, violence and harassment are abhorrent and one of those things we don’t want any of our students to experience. We have total sympathy for survivors. I see what’s going on, and it’s heartbreaking.”

(Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)
(Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Student Governing Association’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Director Sara Haggard, junior in medical biochemistry and Spanish, helped organize the event and said she was happy with the sparked discussions.

“I thought it was excellent that they took the time and effort to address students’ concerns, or at least hear them out,” Haggard said. “The good thing is the administration has definitely heard students’ voices and seen their passion.”

Haggard and fellow advocates made their goals clear to administrators.

One goal is to make the CARE office’s Sexual & Relationship Violence Prevention Specialist position permanent. Haggard found this especially important, as K-State students have access to one prevention specialist, while students at KU have access to six.

K-State President, Richard Myers, and Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, Thomas Lane, meet with students and alumni over concerns on bodily autonomy and title 9 allegations outside Myers’s residence. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)
(Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

“The CARE office is dedicated to prevention education, but we would like to see them better supported by our administration,” Haggard said. “While we were advocating for the prevention specialist in the CARE office to become permanent, Dr. Lane promised it would be student life’s priority to make that happen.”

While students in attendance voiced their concerns directly to administrators, SGA encourages students with further questions and comments to reach out to Sara Haggard at sarajane22@ksu.edu.

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