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A spirit that is not afraid

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Auburn fails to protect students against sexual violence

The Auburn Community has been rocked by multiple cases of missing persons in the last few months.
The Auburn Community has been rocked by multiple cases of missing persons in the last few months.

 I am writing this letter to respectfully and rightfully call attention to the lack of action following the Sept. 28 article titled “Greeks face two drugging allegations.” When looking from a feminist and post-colonial point of view, I am not shocked that allegations were placed within Greek Life; however, such instances are not unique to this setting. While the context of these occurrences offers meaningful insight, I urge that we challenge the greater community at large.

Specifically, I want to call attention to the seemingly nonexistent response to the druggings that occurred at unauthorized fraternity gatherings. Within this same vein, I want to ask that we — as an Auburn community — take the necessary steps towards decreasing the frequency of these heinous instances and develop a more appropriate response that is supportive of survivors; in particular, I am advocating for a collaborative, trauma-informed, multi-faceted approach that takes into account the various social determinants and acknowledges the respective actions that should take place before, around, and after occurrences of sexual interpersonal violence. In addition, I ask that these actions are reflective not only of common themes across survivors’ experiences, but also take into account the unique and nuanced stories.

Thus, I implore that we:

Establish a Student Advisory Board and develop accountability partners for each college and other facets of the University that can take action;

Provide a high-risk security shuttle;

Re-work AU Alert emails to:

Use an active — not passive — voice;

Directly name organizations and institutions that should be held accountable for any experiences;

Include symptoms and characteristics of rape drugs and provide additional links that include more information;

Provide an apology to survivors;

Use trauma-informed language;

Detail action steps reflective of characteristics specific to individual occurrences; 

Provide resources for victim/survivors and bystanders;

Explain insurance policies and ways in which one can advocate for themselves in a healthcare setting;

Forwardly apologize as a University and directly note that these are power-based violences;

Develop clear, written consequences for individuals and organizations;

Explore the possibility of additive emails that advocate for victims if it breaches AU Campus Safety and Security’s abilities;

Raise Awareness for start by believing room; 

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To the administration, I understand that my position as a student does not expose me to the various barriers and bureaucratic obstacles that you must navigate in order to make substantive changes. I ask you to consider the possibility of being more transparent with the Auburn community about the steps that you are taking and any obstacles that you facing in making our University a safer place for all, regardless of — though informed by — meaningful economic, political, psychological and social standings.

To my peers: I ask that you listen to, believe and advocate alongside any and all survivors, as they are experts on their own experiences.

Bluntly, our culture will not change unless we actively work against the performative action characteristic of a neoliberal era. Unless we forwardly name and appropriately tackle this culture head-on we will obscure and exacerbate these occurrences and their effects as well as further ostracize persons effected.

I am submitting this response because I believe in our ability to hold ourselves accountable and make Auburn a safer space. We owe it to one another.

Regan Moss is an Auburn University Honors Research Scholar studying pre-medicine. Moss is also the president of PERIOD at Auburn. 

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