Home Social Justice Student Senate President asked to resign amid rape culture discussion

Student Senate President asked to resign amid rape culture discussion

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Last night, amongst requests for President Nick Southall’s resignation, Ohio University Student Senate discussed ways to oppose what some have described as rape culture at OU.

Vice President Anna Morton began the discussion by reading a letter presented to her by 46 alumni of the Student Senate. After the reading, the discussion was opened to the members of senate and even members of student organizations who attended the meeting. Amid suggestions to change were urges for Southall to resign from his position.

In the letter, the alumni expressed their alarm and disappointment with the culture at Ohio University.

“Help our fellow Bobcats promote and exemplify tolerance, compassion, unity and pride. You have the power to lay groundwork for change,” the letter urged.

The discussion was opened up to the floor after the reading. “It’s time for this to become a whole senate issue,” said Emma Wright, sergeant-at-arms.

Roger Jones, an alumnus who graduated in 2012 and served as Student Senate vice president at the time, encouraged senate to step up and take the lead on the issue. “Stop putting it in one situation,” he said. “What we need to do as a community is to say something.”

Jones suggested that members go and talk to students to change how they perceive rape culture. He said that nothing will get changed if all anyone does is talk about it in a closed room.

“It’s your campus, it’s your community, keep it safe,” he said.

Honors Tutorial College Commissioner Allie Erwin, the founder of the group f*ckrapeculture, said,“I think this was the frankest discussion that Student Senate has ever had on rape culture.”

Suggestions to change the culture included talking to friends and classmates about the issue and walking up and down Court Street to look for wrongdoings in regards to sexual assault. A few other suggestions were to make posters or to create an education program that works in tandem with Alcohol EDU to educate people on sexual assault and consent.

President Southall thought the discussion was very productive. “This is the first step, to really just hash things out and get ideas on the table. The next step is thinking about what could be conducive to improving the culture,” he said.

Citing students’ requests to tackle rape culture on campus, some students attended the meeting to ask Southall to resign from his position, referring to his tweets last month. Bri Adamson, a public health and advocacy major, lead the charge when she recited Southall’s tweet from earlier this year.

“Due to (the tweet) and other inappropriate actions, I ask you to examine your current position as Student Senate President, and exit gracefully to avoid further disruption,” Adamson said.

Claire Chadwick, co-founder of f*ckrapeculture, voiced her opinions as well. “It would be a mistake to keep (Southall) as a leader,” she said. She later said during the rape culture discussion: “I want to know how Student Senate thinks that they are going to be able to form a committee to make changes to the rape culture when the leader participates in perpetuating this culture.”

Southall refused to comment on the matter.

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  1. Mike

    October 26, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    How refreshing to see rape culture addressed like this. After such a horrible event, and all the negative media, I am impressed to see the community rise up like this. Way to go OU.


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