Various university students gathered at the UMC fountains Thursday, Oct. 25 to voice concerns that CU administration is not doing enough to make students feel safe, especially those that are women-identified and part of minority groups.
These incidents include the assault of the CU NightRide driver, the several women who were accosted on University Hill, the multiple break-ins and theft of women’s underwear in residence halls as well as the alleged drugging of women at parties on The Hill.
Anna Awad, a senior, felt that the conversations around assault, particularly assault toward women, were not going anywhere.
“I just want to unite a bunch of women so we can all take care of each other and be safe,” Awad said. “This is a fight we’ve been fighting for decades.”
Kat Staley, a senior, feels like CU’s administration and various parts of the campus community have done little to show they care.
“I would like our university to care, I would like the police to care and I would like my friends to care,” Staley said.
Staley cited the recent trespassing and theft which occurred within resident dorms along the engineering quad as an example where CU has done little to keep its residents safe. Staley said hiring more Campus Safety Operations (CSO) officers could be one way that CU could increase students safety on campus. CU Police Department spokesperson Scott Pribble said that CUPD has “increased patrols in the areas of campus in which criminal activity has occurred” among other measures which can’t currently be shared.
Staley also referred to other university campuses using emergency “blue light” phones, saying they would allow students who feel unsafe to call emergency personnel. CU formerly used the phones before they were removed in 2015. Former Chief of Police Melissa Zak attributed the change in a CU Boulder Today article to the systems being “outdated technology” and CUPD not getting “a legitimate emergency call from these phones in several years.”
Carson Hodes, a senior, was an organizer for the protest. Hodes also believes that CU does little to protect women from assault, saying sending emails is not enough. Under the Clery Act, the university is required to notify students for incidents that occur on university property and the surrounding sidewalk, street and opposite sidewalk surrounding the property. Pribble said that when incidents occur outside of CUPD jurisdiction, CUPD will share relevant information as soon as possible, but cannot send the initial notifying message. Though CUPD patrols University Hill and other neighborhoods around campus, Boulder Police Department has the investigative jurisdiction for off-campus locations in the city.
Hodes said that CU continues to allow perpetrators of sexual assault to remain on campus, referencing an incident where two students were assaulted on stage during a theater production last year. Hodes said that despite being removed from the production, the student is still permitted within the theater building and on campus.
“It’s bullshit because women are not safe on campus,” Hodes said. “CU has not done anything to change that.”
Hodes understood the sensitivity surrounding assault and sees this as a major factor for why others are not discussing it as much as she would like.
“If I’m going to sit here and tell people to support women and tell people to end violence … then I need to practice what I preach,” Hodes said. “I need to go out there and do something about it.”
Contact Breaking News Editor Robert Tann at firstname.lastname@example.org.