Over 100 students spilled out of an administrative conference room Wednesday night, gathering for the second time in two years to demand that UC Santa Barbara administrators reform the university’s handling of sexual violence.
This time, the students presented 12 demands — reiterating several of the 13 points that Chancellor Yang signed off at a 13-hour sit-in on May 14, 2015. After nearly 9 hours of sit-in and discussion, Yang once again signed the students’ demands at approximately 4:00 a.m.
One year ago, students who conducted the sit-in claimed their demands had slipped through the cracks. They spoke with Chancellor Henry T. Yang, drafted another document, and began their process once more.
They returned in larger numbers on Wednesday evening, carrying an Associated Students Senate meeting to Cheadle Hall with a crowd mixed in ethnicity, gender and experience.
The demands ranged from infrastructure — more lighting on Slough Road, a Survivor Resource Center — to community agreements involving the UC Police Department, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol and UCSB Counseling and Psychological Services.
They also enlisted the newly-created I.V. Community Services District to create a “report card” for rape-related behavior and education in I.V. The data would include sexual violence statistics and community-led defensive campaigns.
A full list of demands can be viewed here:
A lead speaker at the sit-in, UCSB student Ro’Shawndra Earvin was allegedly raped in January in I.V. and contacted several authorities to report the incident. She claims the authorities did not respond to her claim because each said it was not in their jurisdiction.
In addition to the 9 demands, Earvin listed several “personal demands” to aid her and other survivors’ rehabilitation after experiencing sexual violence.
She wants the university to pay her tuition debt in full, transfer her to a different university for the Summer and Fall Quarters and allow her to check the progress that the university has made in handling cases of sexual violence.
Earvin said she will be graduating from UCSB after the summer and will continue to work with the university to improve the sexual assault policies on campus and throughout the UC.
“I’m not gonna stop there; I’m going to come back to this resource center and I’m going to make sure I visit other survivors and make sure this is a safe space,” Earvin said. “We need this to be our safe space.”
Yang sat at the table quietly acknowledging the survivor’s statements, saying the document carried each speaker’s pain in its words.
“Everything you said here is from very painful experience. You wrote it here so that’s why when we read it; as you’re talking, I read it again. [Its] meaning gets deeper and deeper,” Yang said.
The list of demands went through several drafts as third-year political science and Asian-American studies double major Akshaya Natarajan ran in and out of the room bringing new copies with each change.
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Margaret Klawunn said she believed the university only addressed some of the students’ concerns from 2015, which is why this year’s list looked different previous year’s lists.
“I think there’s some work that we did do on some of the things that came forward,” Klawunn said. “It’s clear that it wasn’t enough. Really clear that it wasn’t enough.”
At approximately 4 a.m. Thursday, Chancellor Yang and other administrators signed the list of demands, signifying their agreement with its terms. The list will now undergo consultation with the university’s Academic Senate.
Those participating in the negotiations joked that Earvin could now smile, and she responded saying she could now cry because she had found justice.
“Those tears gon’ come y’all. I’ve been waiting for y’all; I’ve been waiting to cry because I’ve been waiting for justice,” Earvin said.
Earvin said she felt proud and that she could now call her mother and comfort her with the idea that she found a solution where the justice system had “failed” her.
“I just want to feel like a survivor, and I swear I don’t feel like no fucking victim.”
Watch Part 1 of the sit-in here:
Watch Part 2 here:
Phi Do contributed reporting.
Updated 8:14 p.m.