I had the unique opportunity to attend the student Senate meeting when students were debating the merits of the Interpersonal Violence Response and Safety Fee. Although I have worked on multiple college campuses and with some amazing students, what I experienced during Senate that night was truly humbling. The courage students displayed in sharing part of their story, regardless of their support for the fee, was incredible. One of the greatest insights that was underscored that evening: Our students who have experienced some form of sexual assault or interpersonal violence have different needs and a unique journey toward healing.
I also appreciated seeing the student debate in action and appreciate the range of questions posed by several of the senators. Regardless of whatever â€œpoliticalâ€ dynamics were at play, it was obvious that most of the student senators engaged in the debate in a thoughtful and critical way, asking some necessary and important questions. It was a privilege to be in a space seeing how many students care about the well-being for students at CSU. The number of students who attended to share their individual story of survival, and their willingness to be vulnerable in such a setting is rare.
Our office, the Women and Gender Advocacy Center, inherited the responsibility to be stewards of the new fee. We understand the scrutiny that our office will face in the coming year: more importantly we recognize that students are saying that more needs to be done. We welcome student insight as we do our very best to exceed student expectations and better serve survivors on campus.
Kathy Sisneros is the director of Women and Gender Advocacy Center.