The Texan Talks: campus sexual assault and dating violence

Walker Fountain

This week, the Daily Texan Forum will discuss sexual assault and dating violence on campus. Sexual assault is an issue which has plagued University campuses across the United States for many years, and University officials are facing increasing pressure to maximize resources to limit the incidence of sexual assault on our campus. A recent survey by the Association of American Universities found that around one in five female students at the University had experienced some sort of sexual assault — and the UT System has commissioned another study to understand sexual assault on system campuses to an even greater degree. Also making news this week is the Safe Campus Act — a piece of legislation currently before Congress which would limit the ability of universities to investigate rape and sexual assault on campus. The legislation was unanimously opposed by the University of Texas Student Government in a vote on Tuesday night. 

Sexual assault and rape on campus have no clear-cut solutions — so empathy and ingenuity are key requirements towards making a difference. This week, we will hear from some of the people charged with finding solutions to this incredibly disastrous epidemic. Erin Burrows will join us, who is  the prevention and outreach specialist with UT’s Voices Against Violence, a nationally recognized sexual assault advocacy group on campus. Also on the panel will be Sydney O’Connell, one of the officers with Not On My Campus UT, a student movement to raise awareness and prompt open discussion of sexual assault issues.  Finally, we will hear from Leila Wood and Deidi Olaya from the team of researchers who are currently conducting the survey for the UT System which will help to shed light on sexual assault at UT. By hearing from these speakers, we hope we can see different perspectives on sexual assault at UT, and what is needed to stop this epidemic.

As always, please join Editor-in-Chief Claire Smith as she sits down with our contributors, Thursday morning at 11 a.m. in the Texas Union Sinclair Suite. The panel discussion will be insightful, and will help us to understand why this problem is so pervasive on college campuses — and what can be done to fix it. 

Fountain is a government senior from Pelham, New York.