Vermont students protest handling of sex assault cases
More than 1,000 University of Vermont students marched across campus to protest the school’s handling of sexual assault cases and to support survivors.
The walkout on Monday was sparked by an Instagram post last week by a student about an alleged sexual assault and her experience with UVM’s Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity office, which investigates cases of sexual misconduct. The walk-out led to the front of the Waterman building, where she and a number of students spoke.
“I’ve heard countless me-toos shouted into the dark because our university doesn’t give a damn about what their students have gone through or the safety of their students,” said UVM senior Sydney Ovitt, who was not the student who posted on Instagram. “It is (UVM’s) job to keep us safe, it is their job to hold students accountable.”
Erica Caloiero, UVM’s interim vice provost for student affairs, said the school is working with students and more resources will be available starting next semester.
“It’s my hope that students understand that we believe survivors — that is my personal belief and per my role,” she said. “Sexual assault is a problem in society and we are part of society.”
It has also agreed to requests that the school enforce that UVM-recognized fraternities attend sexual violence, harassment, or healthy relationship training each semester and report on attendance and that the athletic director require sports teams to attend such training at least once a semester.