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Take Back the Night kicks off weeklong initiative

Roderick says panel began healthy discourse

Take Back the Night kicked off its first series of events Monday as part of a week long initiative on sexual assault. The first event, How to Support a Survivor Panel, consisted of a group of male and female members of the community speaking on their experiences with sexual assault.

The event also allowed for members of the audience to ask questions to the panel, an aspect many of the event organizers noted as one of the highlights of the evening.

Sarah Roderick, chair of the How to Support a Survivor Panel committee and fourth-year College student, echoed this and said the event began a healthy discourse.

“[The event was] very successful, I’m pleased with the turnout and the diverse group of panelists,” Roderick said. “All of their stories impacted the audience who were very engaged.”

The events hosted by Take Back the Night are much anticipated in the aftermath of the retracted Rolling Stone article, which sparked debate at the University and national level regarding sexual assault on college campuses. The organizers of the event said despite the new atmosphere surrounding the issue, the events will continue as they have in the past.

Erica Robertson, major event chair for the Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition and fourth-year College student, said she recognized the differences to consider for this year’s events.

“It's something we have acknowledged and [have] noted the potential changes from the past,” Robertson said. “We are taking as many precautions as we can to create a safe space.”

One particular change which has come from the policies created in the aftermath of Rolling Stone is the new Fraternity Organization Agreement certificate, which certifies events such as the ones being held this week as educational opportunities for the Greek community.

Robertson noted the benefits of this new policy, but emphasized the events should be frequented by every member of the University community.

“[These events] provide them an ample opportunity to know about the issues,” Robertson said. “Its not limited to the Greek community, but highlighted there. Its an issue affecting everyone in the real world.”

An event on policy will be held Tuesday which will cover the new changes to the University policy on sexual assault.