By BELLA LAWRENCE
Earlier this month, on April 10, Provost Alan Townsend released “Colorado College’s Commitment Statement in Support of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education.” In the letter, Townsend states that “Colorado College strives to provide the finest liberal arts education in the country.” Consequently, the college cannot achieve these goals without “the active creation and support of environments that are diverse, equitable, inclusive, and respectful, and that do not tolerate sexual harassment in any form.”
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Action Collaborative currently boasts 42 other institutions. They wrote in their press release on April 10 that its intended outcome is facilitated through a four-year program “composed of working groups” for which “members of the Action Collaborative will identify topics for the working groups and set goals, activities, products, and benchmarks for their work.” The National Academy will then serve as a neutral space for guiding and facilitating these changes.
While this new pledge of allegiance by the college encompasses a more administrative approach, programming within the CC community has been ongoing throughout April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This multi-organizational effort culminated in Tuesday’s “Take Back the Night: A Protest Against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence on College Campuses.”
On April 30, students gathered at the Worner flagpole to march across campus. Students and supporters moved from the flagpole past El Pomar Sports Center to the Preserve and West Campus Apartment arches, to Tava Quad in front of Armstrong Hall, and eventually to Hybl Community Center for a final rally and less formal space for survivors to speak out. The event included student responses to sexual and gender, more intimatebased violence from groups such as Ellement and Speakeasy, and various other individual speeches and performances.
This event is sponsored by the CC chapters of the Student Organization for Sexual Safety, (SOSS), the Student Title IX Assistance & Resource Team (START), and the Wellness Resource Center. Take Back the Night at CC is part of a larger series of protest events that have operated under this moniker since the 1970s.
As of today, according to takebackthenight.org, Take Back The Night events have reached “over 36 countries in over 800 communities.” The Take Back The Night Foundation is a force towards the end of “sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse, and all other forms of sexual violence” through the creation of “safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives.” On Tuesday, CC was able to honor this legacy and provide a platform for artistic and empowering responses to sexual and gender based violence for students on our campus.