Auburn students held a protest at Toomer’s Corner Tuesday night raising awareness of sexual assault and protesting Auburn University’s response to the three sexual assault reports that have been made in the past week.
From Sept. 8-14, Auburn Campus Safety and Security sent three emails regarding instances of sexual misconduct that have been reported on Auburn’s campus, including two reported rapes on campus.
The latest report, sent out Sept. 14, detailed a rape that was reported to have occurred at a fraternity house on Friday, Sept. 10. In the email, Campus Safety did not name the fraternity where the assault occurred, which left some Auburn students feeling frustrated and unprepared against future assaults.
Tuesday afternoon, discussion broke out in an unofficial Auburn safety GroupMe, and a gathering was organized to protest Auburn’s response and handling of the three sexual assaults that have been reported in the past seven days.
Jordan Musantry, junior in marketing, was the first to suggest holding a protest at Toomer’s Corner, but others quickly began expressing interest in support of a peaceful protest in downtown Auburn. The protest began at 7:30 p.m., and participants were requested to wear red and make signs to show support for the victims of sexual assault.
Most participants at the protest were there to encourage Auburn to release the name of the fraternity where the assault took place as well as the name of the perpetrator. Several signs that were being held at the protest were calling out Auburn for protecting those who contributed to these assaults, instead of the victims of the assaults.
Kellyn Murch, freshman in speech, language and hearing sciences, said that her inspiration for coming to the protest was the amount of emails students have received in the last week regarding sexual assaults on campus.
“We have been getting these emails for weeks, and for the school to not release the fraternity names and not hold them accountable is really concerning to me," Murch said. "I think they need to hold them accountable."
Another student at the protest, Bella Shimko, freshman in biomedical sciences, said that she decided to attend the protests for similar reasons.
“Universities don’t put as much attention on sexual assault as they should, and it is such a widespread issue that they need to stop covering it up, and show that this behavior is not OK," Shimko said.
While most of the participants at the protest were women, there were also many men who showed up to support victims of these sexual assaults.
Caden Pope, junior in geography, said that he decided to come to the protest because he has become fed up with what he felt fraternities are able to get away with, and he wants to see them held accountable for their actions.
“This behavior is unacceptable and something needs to be done about it, and I am here to show my support for that," Pope said.
Dustin Love, another junior at Auburn said that he decided to participate in the protest to show support for his female friends and for the victims of these assaults.
“For me, I am here to show my support for my friends and the people that I know who have gone through this and those who I don’t know who have also been through this," Love said.
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Kara Mautz, senior in human development and family studies with a minor in journalism, is a culture writer at The Auburn Plainsman.