Home Social Justice Students sit-in to #BringBackSAP

Students sit-in to #BringBackSAP

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Ohio University Student Union members spent Friday afternoon staging a sit-in at Cutler Hall followed by a gathering on College Green to protest what they called the university’s mishandling of the loss of confidentiality in the Survivor Advocacy Program.

Delaney Anderson left her position as the program’s coordinator Oct. 16, leaving the program without a confidential and licensed leader to whom victims can turn. Dr. Alicia Chavira-Prado, special assistant to the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, is serving in the interim but is required by law to report any sexual offenses she hears.

Protesters picked Cutler Hall because President McDavis’ office is located there. Many of the students involved in the sit-in voiced their concerns about how the university is handling the ongoing situation.

“This shows that the university’s intentions lie not with the student’s interests,” said Ryan Powers, a junior studying philosophy. “We are here today to show that through collective action and working together, we can force the university to give to our demands and make it a better place.”

At the sit-in, the organizers brought attention to their demands, including temporarily suspending SAP until a confidential, licensed interim director is appointed and making the search for a new permanent director public. Their biggest concern is that SAP stays confidential. This drew attention from university faculty including delfin bautista, director of the university’s LGBT Center.

“We want students to know we care, and that we take your voices seriously, and that we are in solidarity with you,” bautista said, “Right now we know that survivors are going to be supported, but what we are trying to figure out is how survivors are going to be supported.”

At 5 p.m., Cutler Hall closed, and Ohio University police warned that any student in the building past that time was subject to arrest. The protesters left Cutler promptly at 4:59.

The university sent out an email in response to the situation, but protesters felt it didn’t meet their demands. This led to the protestors regrouping in front of Cutler Hall two hours later.

When they came back together at 7:30, they had a peaceful protest in front of Cutler Hall. They sat outside the building, made posters and shared personal experiences of how SAP has helped them or is important to them.

At the end of the protest, Bobby Walker, a junior studying women’s, gender and sexuality studies and a “#BringBackSAP” organizer, shared her thoughts.

“We decided to have the occupation outside of Cutler Hall to show the University that we really do care about this, and they’re not just kick us out at 5 p.m. and have that be the end of it,” Walker said. “It quickly turned into we have to make a plan going forward, which we accomplished.”

The group plans to meet outside Cutler again at 5 a.m. on Monday to show the administration they are serious.


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