Student Association

SA officials discuss sexual assault, work to increase student engagement in the city

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SA assembly members discussed sexual assault on college campuses and plans for Impact Week at their meeting on Monday.

At a leadership symposium held at Clemson University this past weekend, Syracuse University had the highest number of reported sexual assaults out of the universities with representatives at the conference.

Student Association President Aysha Seedat, SA Vice President Jane Hong and a few other members of the organization attended the symposium, where Seedat presented the sexual assault data from a Department of Public Safety report given to her.

At the symposium, each SA member present was designated a specific topic to talk about in collaboration with students from different schools. These topics included sexual violence, mental health, gentrification, LGBTQ and disability resources on college campus. Seedat focused specifically on sexual assault on college campuses.

Seedat told the SA assembly Monday night at the organization’s meeting in Maxwell Auditorium that she hopes the experience at the symposium will help to make this semester’s “It’s On Us” week — which will be the first week in April — as successful and impactful as it was when Vice President Joe Biden came to speak at SU in the fall.

In regard to the data about sexual assault presented at the Clemson symposium, Seedat told the assembly she does not believe any of the numbers shared by the students at the conference are representative of how many actual instances of sexual assault occur. She added that SU does not necessarily have the highest number of instances of sexual assault.

Seedat also said she hopes the movement against sexual assault is not solely geared toward women. She mentioned that students from other schools represented at the symposium, such as the University of Louisville, shared that their schools have resources for sexual assault victims in female bathrooms but not in male ones.

SA Vice President Jane Hong said she worked in a group at the symposium that discussed gentrification, and told the assembly on Monday that there is much to be done to promote community engagement at SU.

One idea she shared to promote community engagement was to add incentives within the bike share program, such as providing rewards to people who use the bikes to go out and do work in the community.

Also at the meeting, SA Community Engagement Chair Alexis Cardwell discussed Impact Week, an event aimed at giving students the opportunity to volunteer in the Syracuse community.

Impact Week, which is currently being planned by SA and the Residence Hall Association, will take place from April 1-7. Either SU men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim or his wife, Juli, of the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, are expected to be the special guest speaker at the week’s closing ceremony in Schine Underground.

Cardwell mentioned the possibility for a field day during Impact Week that would be a collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club and SU Athletics. She said she has discussed the possibility with Juli Boeheim.

If that event gets finalized, Cardwell said the date should be announced after Spring Break.

Also at the meeting, Francois Acosta was elected to the general assembly to represent the College of Arts and Sciences.

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