UPUA’s Sexual Violence Awareness Week To Feature Jasmin Enriquez
The University Park Undergraduate Association will again hold a Sexual Violence Awareness Week. The week is part of an effort to spread the word on the 22 sexual assaults that have occurred on campus since August 20 and what we can do to stop this widespread problem. It will be held from April 6 to 10.
The highlight of the week will be a keynote presentation from Jasmin Enriquez, a Penn State alumna who originally started Sexual Violence Awareness Week at the university. Enriquez has since turned it into a non-profit organization called Only With Consent. Enriquez has openly discussed her journey of healing after being raped twice in high school and again at Penn State.
Sexual Violence Awareness Week will cost a total of $17,357.82, of which UPUA itself will pay $10,507.82 thanks to generous contributions from the IFC, Panhel, GPSA, and SAAB.
During debate on the legislation for the event — which will feature informational tables on campus, a movie screening/discussion, and various talks and seminars – Governmental Affairs Chair Stephen Payne voiced concern over the assembly spending a significant amount on t-shirts. Payne moved to lower the costs to just $2,500, which is the honoraria fee for Enriquez and eliminates about $15,000 to be spent on shirts. The 3,000 total shirts come in green and pink and feature the words “Only Do It With Consent” on the front.
“I have a significant fundamental problem with spending that amount on t-shirts,” Payne said. “We’ve discussed in the past and always come down on the side of not funding t-shirts, pizza, and things like that.”
At-Large Representative Melissa McCleery, also a writer for Onward State, was the primary sponsor of the legislation. She disagreed with Payne and said that the t-shirts are an important part of the week.
“It’s supportive for survivors to walk around campus wearing that shirt so that people take them seriously when they want to talk about sexual violence,” McCleery said. “I believe they are a crucial part of awareness week. People constantly asked about shirts and wanted them last year and were disappointed when we didn’t have them.”
Student Life Chair Shannon Rafferty added that students will need to answer questions and will be provided information on sexual violence before receiving a shirt, ensuring that they take some legitimate value away from the week. The proposed amendment from Payne failed with a vote of 29-3.
The legislation then passed 30-2, with Payne and Ryan Belz coming is as the lone dissenters.
In other news, the Belz saga did in fact continue this week, albeit in extremely subdued fashion compared to prior weeks. At Wednesday’s meeting, Belz attempted to tack a resolution onto the agenda supporting Penn State Vice President for Strategic Communications Lawrence Lokman’s statement in response to Keith Olbermann’s already infamous tweets. The motion, of course, failed, but Belz plans to press on and run the legislation through Student Life.
Photo: Only With Consent