Union hosts panel talks relating to sexual assault

Craig Efrati, Staff writer

Sexual assault incidents frequently happen on college campuses. Union College’s Office of Intercultural Affairs hosted an identity dialogue relating to this subject on April 26 for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The talk focused on a series of questions ranging from knowing someone who was sexually assaulted to the impact of Greek Life on sexual assault. 

The Office of Intercultural Affairs defined nuances in terminologies, such as using “survivor” and not “victim,” and using “sexual assault” instead of “rape” for appropriate dialogue. 

The Identity Dialogue Talk featured different identities in the panel and that the topic of sexual assault is important. Several students spoke at the panel about their feelings about sexual assault measures and prevention on campus.  

Many panelists who identified as women also spoke about not feeling comfortable from their freshman year of traveling alone and how height and size play a huge role in comfort. 

Many noted that while fraternities did not always contribute to the culture of sexual assault, there were inextricably tied to sexual assault as a whole. The talk also noted people who know someone who had experienced sexual assault. But, several panelists later also highlighted how fraternity brothers would do everything in their power to protect women and offer rides home for those who needed them. 

Panelist speakers highlight that sexual assault modules were not very effective at curbing sexual assault because not everyone who is involved in Greek Life was present at once. Several students said the Title IX office was also not upheld to an excellent standard due to mixed feelings about its effectiveness on campus. 

Julia Webster ‘24 said the topic is “something I feel really passionate about.” In addition to Webster, a straight, white male student named Jason D’Amico ‘24 remarked that “I do feel that my voice was heard. I was honored to have been tapped to be on this panel since I love the Identity Dialogues series so much.” 

This talk brought light to the increasing number of sexual assault cases on college campuses during this month of action.