Augustana initiates Sexual Assault Task Force

The administration plans to collaborate with students to combat sexual assault

The administration at Augustana College is taking action at the request of their students. Students have been demanding more from the administration after a student reported being sexually assaulted off-campus on New Year's Day. 

The College's President, Steve Bahls released a statement at the end of January which outlined plans by the school to combat the issue. 

On Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Gail Summer, the Provost and Dean of Augustana, released a statement announcing the Augustana  Sexual Assault Task Force, amongst other initiatives. 

The task force is a collaboration between the administration, students and faculty. Four students will be part of the force, including Augustana Senior, Ravi Patel. 

Patel says he's proud of his Administration and fellow students for taking action, but he says he doesn't want this to just be phase that goes away after Spring Break, and hopes to keep the conversation in the spotlight. 

Patel is hoping he can bring a unique perspective because he's not just the only male student, he's president of his Fraternity, and advisor to the the College's President, just to name a few. 
 

With a list of several titles, Patel is often speaking up for others. Now, he's hoping to speak up for not just his best friend, who is a survivor of sexual assault, but for those who need their college to listen. 

"For someone to have to go through an incident like that where it affects their school, their work, their life, is unfair," he said. 

And now he's hoping to show support any way he can.

"I think there's a lot of stuff that needs to be done from the school side, as far as adminsitratively...as far as how we can punish these students...but I think there's equally the amount of work from the student side on how we can change this culture."  

Patel is one of four students collaborating with their school leaders to combat sexual assault on their campus. 

"From my own standpoint, that didn't stop that person from doing this in the first place, and so what I would like to see is can we stop that person from doing this in the first place, make that change in culture."

And he's hoping his unique position will help send a message. 

"It says 'hey this is a problem throughout the entire community not just a select group of people.'"

But Patel says his new role isn't about him, it's about those who deserve a change. 

"I would just like to see a cultural change within the guys that says 'hey, these jokes that we made, they're not funny, for you to do stupid things and for your friends to not stand up, is also dumb,'" he said. 

And while Patel can't bring back what was taken from his best friend, he's hoping to be a part of the change that puts a stop to this in the future. 

"I think it's a very different conversation to have, but I think the things we've done so far are very good first steps in changing the problem."

The group plans to present a report to the president of the college by May 1 2018.

You can find Augustana's full description of the Task Force here
 


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