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The Antelope

The Antelope

The sexual assault movement is flickering. Stoke the flames.


UNK students spread awareness through demonstrations last week, after the UNK Police Department announced an alleged sexual assault and advised students to take precautions. Organizers took to word of mouth and social media to rally support for sexual assault survivors. 

Even with short notice, a crowd of about 40 Lopers met at Centennial Tower East around 10 p.m. to chant and march with signs across campus. 

UNK police officers oversaw the event to protect the participants and passersby. 

After seeing success, the organizers arranged a second gathering three days later at the same time and location.

Bright flames of passion drove the demonstrations, but they flickered out at the second event when the number of participants dropped to 20.

We commend the students who showed up a second time for a good cause. However, the planning could have been better. 

On Friday nights, most college students are either out late enjoying their weekend or driving home. In this case, the second demonstration landed on the start of Labor Day weekend, a holiday that most people use to see family or embark on road trips. 

By the time 10 p.m. rolled around, packed parking lots around campus emptied to reveal sprawling spans of open concrete, a rare sight on a campus where it’s a blessing to find any parking spots during a weekday.

The plan for the second demonstration was similar to the first. The demonstrators marched past the residence halls where some students heard their chants. Unfortunately, many students had already packed up and left their empty rooms behind to hear the demoralized cries. 

The dip in participation might be explained by the fact that by the time Friday night arrived, bursting emotions for the first gathering had time to dissipate.

Good intentions motivated both demonstrations, but a second attempt could have been approached in a different way that lasted longer than one night. 

The first attempt caught the community’s attention, and now is the prime time to educate others and take further action by doing something with the energy that has been assembled.

Instead of repeating the first gathering, it could have been more beneficial to see students start support groups on campus for sexual assault survivors to talk through their experiences with others who can relate. Going forward, an event could be organized with speakers who are invited to share stories about sexual assault and advocate for survivors. 

For example, last year a powerful display in the Nebraskan Student Union presented testimonies and the outfits victims were wearing when they were assaulted. 

A handful of student organizations advocate for the safety of all students, such as Women Are Problematic, the International Justice Mission and Men’s Project. If there are no existing groups that suit the cause, students can start their own registered student organization to end sexual assault.  

We have the opportunity to do something positive for UNK’s community.

UNL’s community banded together to protest the FIJI fraternity after a sexual assault. However, we are not UNL. Our university is not under the same circumstances, however sad they may be. Sexual assault is a severe problem at college campuses across the nation.

What could be mistaken for a protest at UNK was a chance for students to support the sexual assault victim and spread awareness. Instead of shutting down a fraternity, UNK students are trying to shut down sexual assault altogether.

So to the demonstrators, we appreciate your efforts to spark change. You have our support and our attention. Now’s the time to keep stoking the flames. 

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