Students Display Overwhelming Insensitivity at Protest

Raesa+Khawaja+speaks+on+sexual+misconduct+at+the+protest+on+Feb.+18

Raesa Khawaja speaks on sexual misconduct at the protest on Feb. 18

by Abigail Cardenas, Video Editor

Students held a protest Feb. 18 pushing for administrators to reconsider their handling of sexual assault cases on campus. Administration approved for the protest to take place during second period for 20 minutes in the Student Activity Center, and passes were administered to attendees allowing them to make-up work with an unexcused absence. 

Participating students were encouraged to wear teal, craft posters and share their stories in support of the cause. While many demonstrated genuine support for the victims and a passionate urge for change, others made an appearance for the wrong reasons.

Several students merely attended the protest as an excuse to skip their second period classes and they disrespectfully congregated with their friends while sexual misconduct victims vulnerably shared their stories. Knowing the absence for attending would be unexcused, it was purely irrational for these students to hang out where there was a protest on serious matters occurring. If students are to be irresponsibly skipping class, there is no reason for them to converse at a serious event or attend in a mocking or joking manner.

Additionally, there was an array of misbehaving which involved throwing items such as water bottles, and both verbal and physical fights. At least one student needed to be escorted away for partaking in a physical altercation, giving the event a seemingly more negative reputation than the progressive reputation it deserved.

Lastly, when the protest concluded and attendees were instructed to return to class, a large crowd of students formed near building five and began to blast music. These individuals danced around, laughed, joked and essentially turned the peaceful protest into a disruptive dance party. Not only did this lessen peer and administrative views of the protest and threaten their willingness to enact change, but it displayed extreme insensitivity to the victims of sexual assault who were genuinely trying to be heard and understood.

One light that may be considered from these disturbances is that regardless of malicious or careless intent, these individuals showed up and contributed to the cause through the power of numbers. Having the administrators view hundreds of people present is powerful, however, it would have been much more effective to have 100 people that genuinely cared about the cause as opposed to a few hundred who do not.

The protest signified a powerful cause and hundreds of students united to take a stance on the importance of the issue at hand. Several victims shared their stories and viewpoints on the administrative action which should be taken and there were numerous powerful moments creating the potential for a successful, peaceful protest. However, there was an overpowering amount of disrespect and insensitivity demonstrated by careless students, not allowing the event the respect it deserved. 

Moving forward, students need to educate themselves about the issues at hand and show respect, primarily for victims of sexual misconduct. This issue is something that cannot be taken lightly, and protests are designed to enact awareness and change.