Open letter a wake-up call for students, faculty and admin

(Graphic by Steph Truong)

In early December, Laurier students Ethan Jackson and Cassandra Mensah, with the support of many students and alumni, wrote an open letter to the university regarding their concerns about sexual assault and the university’s prevention measures.

The letter addressed a lack of urgency surrounding sexual assault education and prevention and called on student leaders and the university to help shape a discourse on campus.

The letter was written with the motivation from first hand experiences and opposition to a culture that allows sexual assault incidences to go unreported. It is a positive step to see university administration and students supporting the increased attention on the issue of sexual assault. But, more still needs to be done and the momentum gained by this open letter cannot be squandered.

While the letter has a bit of an accusatory tone in terms of its suggestions on penalizing student leaders for “silencing,” new methods of education should be explored so that student leaders are proactive when dealing with these issues.

Mental health has experienced increased exposure as an awareness issue in recent years and can be an exemplar for those looking towards promoting education and awareness of sexual assault and gendered violence. There is support on campus among staff, students and alumni as evident by support for the letter’s initial writing and by the desire for a larger presence on campus.

Worthy issues like mental health and sexual assault should be awarded widespread attention. With cooperation between the university and students, tangible results in awareness, education and prevention can be achieved, much like that seen with the issue of mental health over the last several years. Hopefully, the winter break does not hinder progress and the university takes advantage of immense support behind the points addressed in the open letter.

– The Cord Editorial Board 

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