The activist group No Red Tape crashed an information session Tuesday for prospective Columbia University students and their parents, part of an effort to draw attention to the flaws they see in how the school handles sexual assault.
Columbia's alleged issues with sexual assault have been thrust into the spotlight quite a bit recently, thanks to both smart student activism as well as Cathy Young's "She's probably just lying"-style journalism. No Red Tape planned the demonstration specifically to protest the university's new proposed "consent education" policy, which hasn't yet been unveiled but which the student protesters say will feature a short video and require students to write a "reflection" paragraph. Zoe Ridolfi-Starr, a senior who's also an activist and an assault survivor told DNAInfo that it'll be basically useless: "It's going to do nothing. All students know that." DNAInfo also reports that the proposed consent program won't be mandatory, and individual schools within the university could choose whether to implement it.
No Red Tape is calling for more comprehensive consent education, which they'd like to be mandatory, twice a semester, and led by a trained facilitator. DNAInfo reports that "stunned" parents and high school students looked on as the protesters chanted and held signs reading "Keep Students Safe" and "Education Prevents Violence." The group also released this statement on Facebook today just after the protest:
This morning we took action at a Columbia admissions session to let prospective students and their families know the truth about Columbia's mishandling of sexual and dating violence and their new completely inadequate prevention education programming. We need MANDATORY, comprehensive, and ongoing education—not six minute videos and one page reflections.
Image via Facebook.