“Hold! Him! Accountable!”: Auburn students demand justice for victims

Courtesy of WSFA 12 News

Emily Ford, Correspondent

Enraged Auburn students gathered Tuesday evening for a sexual assault protest. This was followed by a protest of more than five hundred people on Samford Lawn on September 14, organized by Jordan Musantry, a sophomore at Auburn University. This occurred after three separate sexual assault incidents were reported within the same week. 

The first of these incidents occurred on September 8 when a woman claimed an acquaintance of hers raped her on campus. Then on September 10, another woman claimed she was walking along a sidewalk when she was “fondled” by an unknown man. 

Video evidence following the incident shows the man later made an unsuccessful attempt to follow two other females into Oak Hall.

The most recent occurred just this Tuesday after a woman reported being raped at an undisclosed fraternity house on Friday. The woman was not able to recall details of the incident, but she had multiple injuries that were determined to be consistent with sexual assault. 

This is not uncommon for the university. According to their most recent annual safety report in 2019, there were twelve additional rapes reported on the main campus over the course of a year. 

As for the Samford Lawn protest, it was organized just hours after the email report was released. Students immediately took to social media to spread the word. They advocated for accountability of the assaulters and support for the victims. 

One of the main issues the students protested was for the name of the fraternity connected to the most recent report to be disclosed. A petition was even circulated asking for the university to share more information about it. Students held signs that said things such as “Hold! Him! Accountable!” and “Release the Name.”

Musantry shared with reporters that recent protests held at the University of Nebraska and the University of Kansas inspired her to rally students together.

“For us, we wouldn’t have done it without those schools doing it.” Musantry said.

She also went on to say that she and other students plan to continue with protests until they can bring about change. 

Following the multiple protests, Auburn’s Student Affairs released a statement. 

“The safety of our students is always going to be our top priority,” Dr. Bobby R. Woodard, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs said, “When incidents happen like the three reported over the past several days, it makes us work harder and become more determined to make the campus a safer environment for everyone.” 

Student Affairs has also announced to the public that they plan to host a town hall meeting on Thursday, September 23 in response to the assaults and the protests. In the meeting, they plan to get feedback from students on how they can be of the most help moving forward. Their goal is to provide a safe environment for all of their students and to bring justice to the assaulters and victims. 
For more information, visit http://studentaffairs.auburn.edu/ and www.auburn.edu/titleix

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