Students Demand Accountability for Rape on Campus

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“Rain or shine,” freshman Noah Thomas stated in a post shared across the IUPUI campus. Thomas, along with freshman Caeley Hayes, organized a peaceful protest Wednesday, September 22nd, to raise awareness on the most recent sexual assault case that was reported to the IU police department. Students of all backgrounds attended the protest to show their support despite the rain. Thomas expressed that his number one goal with this protest was to support and help his peers.

“I just hope this makes [my peers] feel safer,” Thomas said. “Safety should be one of the top priorities on a campus, student’s safety. IUPUI prides themselves on being one of the safest campuses in Indiana and the United States, but here we are dealing with this sexual assault. Something has to be changed. I am looking out for my peers’ safety and well-being. That’s my number one thing.” 

Thomas believes that this can be achieved through the inclusion of more cameras in dorms across campus. The most recently reported case of sexual assault was a reported rape that occurred in a stairwell in University Tower on September 16th, where there are no cameras. Students have reported that there are no cameras in Ball Residence Hall, and only some functioning cameras in North Hall. 

“The campus needs to add cameras in University Tower stairwells, elevators, and hallways. They have one camera on each floor right when you’re leaving the elevator and that’s all they have. Change needs to happen now.”

Along with speeches from Thomas and Hayes, students were welcomed to share their stories of personal sexual assault experiences. With cheers of love and support from their peers, survivors stepped up to share, in hopes of making a change. One of these students was freshman Annie Hadley, and she explained what she hoped to achieve with the protest.  

“I just feel like it doesn’t matter the conditions, we’re here to prove that we are trying to show our voice,” Hadley said. “And I think that by starting small, by showing our voices where we can on campus, that is a small step to show that we’re out here, and we support these women. We hear their voices, and we want something to be done. We want something to change.” 

Kimberly Minor, Detective Lieutenant at Indiana University Police Department (IUPD), said they are aware of the demands being made by the protesters. 

“We agree, we would love to have more cameras in the dorms, we would love to have them wherever they could be,” Minor said “The police department isn’t responsible for placing those cameras, but we absolutely concur.” 

Minor said that the number of these cases this year is similar to the number of these cases from August to November 2019. 2020 was excluded because there were fewer students on campus. Minor says that from August to November 2019, there were around 5 cases. 

While this year’s numbers are relatively close, there has been a slight increase. According to the IUPD crime log, there have been eight cases involving rape or sexual battery so far in the 2021 fall semester. 

“When people see reports go up, they’re concerned,” Minor said. “But, I offer a different perspective and that is, when reports go up, it’s not necessarily that more cases are happening, but more people are reporting.” 

Minor also says that more people may feel comfortable reporting their experiences because of encouragement from friends and people in their lives. However, one of these cases included a charge of Interference With the Reporting of a Crime, indicating that there is still resistance against those that come forward to report these crimes. 

“From talking to victims or survivors, they’ve had friends who have encouraged them to come forward,” Minor said. 

As far as possible prevention of these crimes, Minor says, “Because rape is such an intimate crime, outside of education there’s not a lot the police department can do to prevent it.” 

Students have been questioning why these perpetrators are still on campus in spite of IUPUI’S zero-tolerance policy. According to Minor IUPD would be “more than happy” to see these students removed from campus, but that responsibility is ultimately a student conduct issue. Students have only been clery noticed (notified) of one of these rapes, per the IUPD crime log

IUPUI also has a text message system that students can opt in to receive these notifications. Students can do that through the Emergency Notification Setting module on OneIU. Minor adds “What I would like for people to know is that if you are a victim, understand that if you make a police report, you don’t have to file charges but at least that puts it on record.”

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