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Purdue students demand change after reports of sexual assault on campus

Several happened in Greek Life
Posted at 12:15 PM, Oct 12, 2021

WEST LAFAYETTE — College students in Indiana are once again taking action, demanding a safer campus for everyone after reports of sexual assaults happening to their classmates. This time it's at Purdue University.

"In the span of seven days, there were four sexual assault cases that were reported on campus and they were all in Greek life," Sarah Whitaker, a student at Purdue, said.

The Purdue University Police Department Crime Log shows those sexual assaults happened at the end of September. It's part of the reason why #MeToo Purdue was created.

Because the sexual assaults were connected to Greek Life, a meeting with Purdue's Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life leaders also took the place. That's the other reason why #MeToo Purdue was started, according to Whitaker.

"We had a couple of meetings with the leaders there and a lot of the language being used was centered around alcohol is the problem and the women who were reporting these cases, if they hadn't broken the BYOB system, then this stuff wouldn't have happened," Whitaker said.

Students protesting at Purdue

She and others said the victim-blaming did not sit well with them. They realized the #MeToo Purdue could draw attention to inaction and the need for change.

"Inherently, I think it's a cultural change. This is behavior we've seen for decades, centuries, where women have been suppressed," Beth Kelley, another Purdue student, said. "It's not a how do we teach our girls to prevent these things from happening to them, it's how do we teach these boys, keep them from doing these things."

At the beginning of this month, dozens of students associated with #MeToo Purdue packed a board of trustees meeting. They were inside and right outside the meeting, making their presence and goals known.

"We've kind of already gotten some good feedback. We have one of the Board of Trustees members working with us. We really just want to see the school acknowledge us, for one thing, that would be nice," Whitaker said.

Kelley and Whitaker said people will continue to see students rallying and protesting, coming together to demand changes are made to make people feel safe. A Solidarity March is planned for 6 p.m. Oct. 14 on campus.

"We need everyone who believes in this and supports this to get involved. Find the bravery within themselves to step up as well because it's difficult," Kelley said.

Purdue's Fraternity, Sorority, and Cooperative Life did not respond back to our questions for this story.

Purdue's Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council, the governing body for sororities and fraternities on campus, have all released statements on this matter. Those statements are below.

A university spokesman sent us the statement below concerning #MeToo Purdue

"Members of our Board of Trustees met last Friday morning with members of Purdue Student Government, Purdue Panhellenic and others to listen to their experiences and concerns. We thank all of our students for their efforts and actions to ensure the safety and well-being of their fellow Boilermakers. As we have seen over and over again, our students care for each other and want the best for their community."

Tim Doty, Direction of Media and Public Relations