TOPEKA (KSNT) – Dozens of Washburn University students gathered Thursday in fear of their own safety. They were standing together against sexual assaults on campus. With nearly every seat in Carole Chapel full, dozens showed their support to assault victims and voiced their concerns with safety on campus.
“Want my campus to be safer and that I think they need to make safety on this campus for all a priority and they need to make consent education a priority,” says Monica McDougal a junior at Washburn.
For Farai Harreld, president of Stand, a human rights organization on campus, this was also a way to provide comfort for victims, “Cause just like those statistics show that one in four women and one in sixty men will be victims of sexual assault.” Students showed they say they’re concern with the lack of on-campus education about sexual misconduct, the limited number of emergency stations on campus and the way the university communicates with its students.
Katherine Jones and Misha Reed are both students at Washburn and after a reported sexual assault in February, both made sure to attend the vigil.
“After this incident happened I definitely feel less safe on campus. I think we should have more emergency stations then we do. We I think like two or three, so we definitely need more of those,” says Jones. The lack of response and communication from the university has changed how safe students feel. “I did, up until recently and so I am more cautious and pay more attention to the things that I’m doing and the people who are around me,” says Reed.
Despite repeated attempts to administration and campus police, both verbal and written, the university says it has no comment in regards to the sexual assault in February or to the concerns at Thursday’s vigils.
Concerns expressed at the vigil will be drafted into a letter that will be given to Washburn’s President Dr. Jerry Farley.