October 7, 2021
President Myers responds to sexual violence rally
Dear K-State community:
On Tuesday, Oct. 5, more than a hundred students gathered on our campus to march and protest against sexual violence in the Kansas State University community. The march ended at the president's residence, where we engaged in a robust, if sometimes heated, dialogue. I want to thank the students who took time to organize and participate in this event. Please know your voices were heard.
Many expressed frustrations with the status quo and a desire for a greater sense of urgency for the university to address these issues. Some who spoke gave personal examples of sexual violence or sexual harassment they have endured. You were courageous to come forward with these deeply personal stories.
I want to be very clear that I personally stand with the survivors and abhor the actions of perpetrators of sexual violence. If you have experienced sexual violence or sexual harassment, I encourage you to contact the Center for Advocacy, Response and Education, or CARE, the Office of Institutional Equity, or OIE, or local law enforcement. There is a wide range of confidential resources available.
You have my commitment to address the issues of sexual assault and sexual violence on our campuses. While much progress has been made in recent years, we must accelerate our pace. I view this as an urgent need.
We asked the protestors for some concrete actions they would like to see us take and have already received an initial list, with more to come. Thomas Lane, vice president for student life, will lead this effort while engaging students, student leaders, our CARE office, OIE, Lafene Health Center and other campus resources. A more detailed plan with specific action steps and timelines will be published in K-State Today in the near future.
There is one step everyone can take and that's to participate in the Sexual Assault Climate Survey that will come out later this month. I encourage you to take this survey and help us understand the full scope of these issues.
Widespread awareness and training on the prevention of sexual violence are critical components for combatting this societal violence. Student Life has committed to continuing a professional-staff led sexual violence prevention program beyond funding from SGA's Student Centered Tuition Enhancement fund. They are also reviewing all of our prevention programs to make certain we are following best practices and most importantly, being effective.
One of our work groups in the 11 Action Steps for a More Inclusive K-State is evaluating our jurisdiction and relationship with independent student organizations and will present their recommendation to our leadership in December. This is a complex issue with many legal and accountability issues that requires a thoughtful approach.
I want to thank those who participated in the rally and those working to improve safety on our campuses. There is more to do.
Richard B. Myers