Daily Egyptian

‘You’re a Survivor’ walk participants appeal to Board of Trustees

Tierra Carpenter, a sophomore from Lansing studying TV and Digital Media Radio, addresses the SIU Board of Trustees on Dec. 9, 2015, at the Stone Center. Carpenter and about 50 others walked from the Communications Building to the Stone Center as part of a sexual assault awareness walk. The group, known as

Tierra Carpenter, a sophomore from Lansing studying TV and Digital Media Radio, addresses the SIU Board of Trustees on Dec. 9, 2015, at the Stone Center. Carpenter and about 50 others walked from the Communications Building to the Stone Center as part of a sexual assault awareness walk. The group, known as "The Consent Party", asked the board to reconsider multiple cases they believed were mishandled and its sexual assault policies. 

By Shannon Allen, @ShannonAllen_DE

“Rape is not a choice, now hear our voice,” more than 50 people chanted as part of a sexual assault awareness walk on Wednesday, calling for the university to change how it handles claims of sexual assault.

Participants held signs with sayings such as “Compliance is not enough” and “University of Sex Crimes” as they journeyed across campus to express their concerns at the SIU Board of Trustee’s executive meeting in the Stone Center.

Tierra Carpenter, a sophomore from Lansing studying radio and television, organized the walk and said she was sexually assaulted in her dorm this September. She said she went to the hospital within a few days of the attack, but was persuaded to not complete a rape kit because time had passed.

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Because of this, she said her request for a no-trespass order against her attacker was not granted.

“While my investigation was going on, I told the detective in charge of my case their department has very poor communication because there was always someone telling me something that someone else at the department ‘should’ve told me,'” Carpenter said.

Robyn Del Campo, a freshman from Bloomingdale studying wildlife habitat management and conservation, led with Carpenter as the group began walking from the Communications Building. She said she was sexually assaulted in her dorm in August.

Del Campo said the university did not consider all the evidence available during their investigation. Carpenter, Del Campo and community members wrote letters in November to university officials about sexual assault cases they believe were mishandled.

The group said interm Chancellor Brad Colwell’s response to the letters said the university focuses on students’ safety, investigations of assaults are completed by well-trained staff members and all available evidence is considered.

When the group attended the executive meeting, Carpenter was given three minutes to express her concerns as part of the allotted time for public comment, university spokesperson Rae Goldsmith said.

Donna Mannering, vice chair of the board, asked Carpenter to “conclude please” after she spoke for three minutes, but prior to finishing her story.

“We say your primary concern is protecting your public image, and not the safety of your students,” the group said in unison.

Goldsmith said the board welcomes public concerns.

Consent Party member Casey Daniels asked on behalf of the organization that the board re-examine its sexual assault policies.

“As the Board of Trustees, we recognize your role in shaping university policies, and we appeal to your responsibility towards staff, students and community to take action now,” Daniels said.

The Consent Party also said they want Linda McCabe Smith, associate chancellor for institutional diversity, and Casey Parker, director of the Office of Diversity and Equity, to be held accountable by the university for any actions found to violate students’ rights such as cases of sexual assault, racism, sexism and hate-crimes. 

Shannon Allen can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3326.

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