Hannah Bernard 0

UKY: Protect Our Students

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Students of UKY:

On September 14, the collective student body of University of Kentucky learned of a sexual assault attempt near campus on the evening of Friday, August 26. We did not become aware of this through our campus alert system. We found out through Facebook shares, tweets, and later LEX 18, when the Lexington Police Department stated that they believed this could be a serial rapist.

On September 15, the Chief of UK Police sent out an email stating:

“In response to misinformation being circulated among University of Kentucky students, parents, and employees about a recent sexual assault in Lexington, I want to provide accurate information to our UK family… No incidents related to the recent report from Lexington police about possible sexual assaults has occurred on UK’s campus. All incidents were off campus… Alerts are issued when a serious crime or other incident (gas leak, tornado warning, etc.) occurs on campus posing a threat that requires immediate action.” – Joe Monroe

Why did our university decide not to notify us? According to this statement, sexual assault is not considered a serious crime, nor does it require immediate action. The health and safety of the female student body comes second to gas leaks and weather, and the protection of the health and safety of the student body stops at a clearly defined border.

Furthermore, by credence of the Clery Act of 1990 (Title 20 U.S.C., § 1092), any college or university that participates in federal financial aid programs are required to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their campuses. There was no alert made about this incident, and as Joe Monroe put it, “there was no immediate threat.” What Monroe, and the University of Kentucky, fail to understand is that when there is a rapist roaming on the boundaries of campus, there is an immediate threat to all those who cross that boundary.

Not only is this avoidance harmful to the safety of women on campus, it is harmful to men as well. In any institution where sexual assault is pushed under the rug, underreported, and ignored is harmful to the development of moral citizens. UK seems to care more about their enrollment rate than of the safety of its’ students. The idea that there is a man who is prowling the streets close to the University instills fear in the hearts and minds of women all across campus. And for a woman who has experienced sexual assault? It is enough to trigger them into PTSD episode, and prevent them from attending their classes. Should the threat of sexual assault prevent the student body from focusing on their education? UK doesn’t seem to have a problem with this.

I am demanding that the University of Kentucky and its’ Police Department send out more alerts regarding incidences that occur off campus, especially those regarding sexual assault. We all have a right to know what goes on—and near—our campus. We deserve more from our institution.

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