The Fordham Ram

USG’s CSM Holds Week of Action

Events+like+the+Clothesline+Project%2C+pictured+above%2C+were+designed+to+raise+awareness+of+sexual+misconduct.+%28Joe+Esposito%2FThe+Fordham+Ram%29
Events like the Clothesline Project, pictured above, were designed to raise awareness of sexual misconduct. (Joe Esposito/The Fordham Ram)

Events like the Clothesline Project, pictured above, were designed to raise awareness of sexual misconduct. (Joe Esposito/The Fordham Ram)

Events like the Clothesline Project, pictured above, were designed to raise awareness of sexual misconduct. (Joe Esposito/The Fordham Ram)


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By Joe Esposito

Last week, United Student Government (USG) and its Committee on Sexual Misconduct (CSM) held its Week of Action, a week of events aimed at educating students on sexual misconduct and consent. While the committee works throughout the academic year, this is its flagship event. It sought to increase visibility and reach as many students as possible with informative and interactive events held Monday through Thursday.

Nate Singh, FCRH ’20, is chair of the Committee on Sexual Misconduct. He said he hoped the Week of Action had a clear message.

“Through the Week of Action, the Committee on Sexual Misconduct wants students to be aware that the issue of sexual misconduct is not being ignored by Fordham students,” he said. “We want students to know that we will not allow this issue to be swept under the table, and that we will strive to do whatever we can to stand with survivors and educate our peers about the university’s Title IX process.”

On Monday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the McGinley walkway, the committee held the Clothesline Project, an event of solidarity for survivors of sexual assault. This event, which was open to all student and faculty, gave people the opportunity to write messages of support to survivors on white t-shirts. These shirts hung on a clothesline along the walkway and stayed up all week. Messages included “I believe you” and “you are unbelievably strong.”

The committee provided information about itself, CARE and resources for sexual assault survivors. It also gave out teal and purple ribbons, which served as a symbol for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. Everyone tabling had received Title IX training, so they were able to educate anyone who had questions.

Tuesday was the committee’s keynote lecture, “The Talk” with Rev. Lito Salazar, S.J., who discussed sexual misconduct and identity relative to the Catholic Church. Father Lito began with remarks of his own, then engaged in a conversation with a committee member about these issues. He ended by opening the floor to questions.

He spoke about the importance of consent and noted the importance of meaningful sexual relationships. He spoke on the Church’s view on sex.

“For the Church, sexuality is best expressed as relationship or commitment,” said Salazar. “To the Church, all sexual expression must be within marriage.”

He also spoke on the problem of sexual misconduct in the Church. He noted that training is the root of the problem. Many offenders were trained before 1970. He said the new training and accreditation, which involves psychological training as well, is much more effective.

“Accreditation works. Prevention works,” he said.

He also touched on the importance of reporting.

“All sex abuse is criminal; we beg you to report,” he said.

One student attending the event, Tyler Mejorado, FCRH ’22, said he found Salazar to be effective in his delivery.

“Everyone loves Father Lito,” he said. “He talked about things that are rather controversial, but he is the perfect person to talk about it.”

On Wednesday, “Candy and Consent,” a tabling event, occurred in McGinley from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The committee distributed free candy with information stapled to each one about what consent means and why it is important.

Finally, on Thursday, CSM continued to table in the McGinley lobby giving out information about the committee in an effort to gain exposure.

Margaret Rothfus, FCRH ’20, said she thought the Week of Action helped generate awareness for the issue.

“I think the Week of Action is really important to have on college campuses and to keep the issue of sexual violence on our minds,” she said. “It’s so present and people don’t talk about it as much.”

Singh said he hopes students came out of the week with more awareness about sexual misconduct on college campuses and particularly how it affects Fordham as a Catholic university rooted in the Jesuit tradition.

“We want to make sure that students are informed and educated about sexual assault and the resources available to those involved in any incident,” he said. “We also want for our peers to know that we exist as a resource and an outlet for those passionate about this issue.”

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