Raising awareness and shining a light on Colgate’s culture – The Colgate Maroon-News


According to Bureau of Justice statistics, an estimated 80% of sexual assaults on students go unreported. A college campus, for many students, is a dangerous place. The network, however, seeks to change that through open dialogues, meetings, and survivor-centered events that serve both the Colgate campus and the Madison County community as a whole. The organization is student-run and has grown exponentially since its inception in 2014.

As a small liberal arts institution, Colgate arguably has plenty of opportunity to effectively and empathetically support survivors. Student-run organizations like The Network end up filling a void and picking up the slack in raising awareness among the student body.

“The Network is Colgate’s club dedicated to raising awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. We partner with COVE and run fundraisers with proceeds going to the Help Restore Hope center (a shelter for survivors of domestic violence),” The Network co-manager Julia Sicklick explained in describing the ‘organization.

Sicklick developed the work The Network does on campus.

“Last semester, we ran a course through COVE on healthy and unhealthy relationships, which was very successful. tomorrow [Tuesday, April 12th] is our Take Back the Night walk that will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the COOP. It’s part of a national movement and a tradition that we do every year.

Weekly meetings and on-campus events are meant to show students where to turn for help and how to get more involved. Sicklick talks in more detail about his thoughts on sexual assault in the Colgate climate.

“I think Colgate cares, but the way the administration manages [sexual violence] has a lot of bells and whistles attached to it, and the current mechanism for reporting and things like that isn’t the best,” Sicklick mentioned.

Sicklick went on to talk about how information is disseminated at Colgate, particularly through social media, and how the administration rejects information solely because of the platforms on which it is disseminated.

“[Colgate] show a little more empathy and compassion. A lot of things I’ve seen over the past year are things on YikYak and other social media platforms, which spread to students faster than emails. And then the administration says “we’re going to get to the bottom of this, but don’t believe what you see on social media platforms”. In that way, it’s a little discouraging, because you have to believe the survivors.

Awareness of sexual and domestic violence is lacking, and stigmatizing the subjects is exactly what allows a culture that accepts these things to flourish. Silence breeds tacit approval.

“I think awareness is important to me because it starts the conversation and I think sometimes these topics can be a bit taboo, or not things that people talk about in everyday life or really think about,” Amelia Showers, senior and co-leader, added. “The events and getting our name, The Network, and having Haven on campus as a resource is the most important thing for people to feel supported.”

Organizations like The Network are helping to contribute to a student-led movement for change by making support for sexual violence more accessible and public.

“I think the administration could make the average student better aware of how to access all the help centers on campus, because they’re quite extensive,” said Belle Drummond, freshman and Haven Ambassador.

According to RAINNa database on domestic and sexual violence, 26.4% of women and 6.8% of men experience undergraduate sexual violence: sexual and domestic violence is considered almost a given on college campuses, and yet the average student lacks the resources and knowledge to take care of themselves.

“Obviously, we’re in college, and we’re on campus, and that’s very prevalent at most colleges across America, and especially at Colgate,” Sicklick said. “I know a lot of people, the way certain events have been handled by the administration, people just don’t really know the problem. I mean we are not to resolve the problem, but trying to raise awareness and make people understand.

If you need help or advice regarding sexual or domestic violence, please contact Haven at 315-228-7385.

You can contact The Network at [email protected]


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