A second sexual assault town hall will take place on Thursday, Feb. 8 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to discuss the university’s progress in preventing sexual assault and providing resources to survivors.
UC Santa Barbara’s nowUCSB initially presented a list of 12 demands to address sexual assault on campus and in Isla Vista during a May 3, 2017 sit-in. These demands elaborated on a previous list signed on May 12, 2015 by Chancellor Henry T. Yang about helping survivors of sexual assault.
The sit-in led to two town halls aimed at holding UC officials accountable for fulfilling the agreed-upon demands. Tonight’s town hall will be held in the UC Santa Barbara’s MultiCultural Center.
The discussion will focus on Demand 11, which requires the UC President to conduct yearly UC tours, where they will hold a public Sexual Assault/Sexual Violence Town Hall at every single UC campus once a year.
The purpose of the UC president conducting annual town halls is to “hold them publicly accountable and provide spaces for students to directly communicate demands and grievances to UCOP and to the UC-wide administration,” according to the list of demands.
The demand for holding yearly tours has not yet been met.
Robin Holmes Sullivan, Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of California Office of the President (UCOP), will be attending tonight’s town hall as a representative for the UC President, Janet Napolitano.
UCSB student Ro’Shawndra Earvin led the May sit-in, when more than 100 students stayed in an administrative conference room in Cheadle Hall for approximately nine hours to protest the university’s handling of sexual violence.
Earvin was allegedly raped on Jan. 7, 2017 in Isla Vista and said during the May meeting that the authorities had responded to her reporting of the rape by telling her that it was not in their jurisdiction.
She first brought the incident to public attention at an Isla Vista Community Services District meeting in March, during which she said the District Attorney’s office had not looked at her case since she filed it two months earlier.
During the May meeting, Earvin and nowUCSB presented the list of 12 demands which included having Earvin’s tuition paid in full and a summer and fall UC transfer.
More UC-wide demands included the creation of a Survivor Resource Center, an update of the Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between UCPD and Isla Vista Foot Patrol and that Chancellor Yang and his office continuously update students about the progress being made on the demands.
Earvin held a vigil in solidarity of survivors of sexual assault on Oct. 20, 2017, during which she once again addressed the demands given to the university.
In October, the university appeared to have met several of the demands, which included providing mandatory sensitivity training for the UCPD and changing jurisdiction and protocol for how cases are managed.
“I did not have justice. I am using my voice today, and I pray that you all continue to use your voices to change somebody else’s life,” Earvin said during the vigil.
The first town hall was then held on Nov. 14, 2017, when administrators revisited the status of the demands.
Yang was not in attendance and was represented by a panel of administrators and representatives from UCOP, Counseling & Psychological Services (C.A.P.S.), Campus Advocacy, Resources and Education (C.A.R.E.) and the UCSB Police Department.
During the November meeting, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Margaret Klawunn revealed that some of the demands were still marked as “in progress” or “incomplete.”
Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, Earvin shared on social media an email she sent to Yang, in which she accused the chancellor of frequently missing meetings and being unresponsive over email.
“I hope going forward you make more respectful, and considerate decisions, as sending statements for others to read in your unexcused absences is not enough,” she wrote in an email to Yang.
Thursday’s meeting is an “opportunity for increased communication and feedback to the UCSB administration as well as the UC Office of the President regarding sexual violence,” according to a university announcement sent out to UCSB students to advertise the meeting.
A student panel and an open forum will be held. Students are encouraged to fill out a survey before the meeting so Sullivan can address attendees’ questions.
A version of this article appeared on p.3 of the Feb. 8 print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Simren Verma currently serves as the University News Editor. She also enjoys school and the presence of her news team.