Thursday students at St. Norbert College in De Pere tried to get the attention of the school’s administration through a demonstration.
They say not enough is being done to uphold Title IX, which they say immensely affects students who have been sexually assaulted on campus.
The U.S. Department of Education defines Title IX as the statute that protects individuals from discrimination based on sex in education programs.
In April 217 current St. Norbert students signed a letter to the school’s president that said they want sexual assault on campus to actively be addressed.
“While my assault disgusts me to my very core, I want to emphasize how the response from the college hurt me more than my assault it’s self,” says a Norbert student.
She says she reported her campus assault only to be led down a rabbit hole of obstacles to get help.
In the letter addressed to Norbert’s president six months ago students made nine requests calling for changes to Title IX.
President Bruess said seven of the nine had been addressed.
“I expect all of those items to be considered and implemented including a bunch of other initiatives that students have brought forward as well,” says Bruess.
“I know that I hadn’t heard anything about it before, but now that this year I’m hearing about it, I think that’s the start of the seeds of change,” says St. Norbert junior Sarah Jensen. “But I am not aware of any huge things that are happening yet.”
Just this week 294 alumni of Norbert sent their own letter that stated they want to see more effective Title IX policies implemented.
They call for an investigation of the school’s vice president Father Jay who they allege has failed to help victims of assault.
The alumni say if not they won’t be recommending potential students and will withdraw financial support from the institution.
“We’re going to take every concern or question such as that seriously and review that and take appropriate action as necessary,” says Bruess.
But some students think the college is still not transparent enough about assaults on campus.
“If any unsafe activity occurs on campus like someone was kidnaped or someone faced some sexual harassment, we should be made more aware of that,”says St. Norbert senior Julia Camarillo.
But Thursday is about solidarity.
Because these Norbetines want their voices heard.
“I think that we all are afraid in some ways of this happening to us,” says Jensen. “It does happen to people and it’s something that we need to acknowledge. If we ignore it and just push it under the rug it hurts people and people are being silenced and it’s not okay.”
President Bruess told Local 5 they are working on becoming more transparent with students on campus.
He says they are creating a web based police blotter that students can access and they’re creating an aggregate report to track assaults that happen on campus.