Kimberly Canter, a Spelman College student who said she was raped on campus by three men, speaks before Vice President Joe Biden at Morehouse College on Nov. 10 during a three-college tour to mobilize students to take action to prevent sexual assault on campuses in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Atlanta students demand that colleges fight campus rape culture

UPDATE 11/19/15: Clark Atlanta University president  Ronald Johnson addressed students in a letter released on Wednesday. He discussed the university's ongoing efforts to "eradicate dating violence and sexual assault" on campus.

"My goal, as should be yours, is to continue to ensure that we are informed and prepared to act against these crimes on our campus, if and whenever they occur. This has been our stance and the focus of our efforts over the past several years, and will continue to be so in the future," Johnson wrote.

Original post: Students from Spelman and Morehouse Colleges and Clark Atlanta University are demanding that their institutions do more to address sexual violence on their campuses.

The students sent administrators at the colleges a list of 13 demands for the schools to do more to “protect, serve and work for and with all students to keep us safe.” Their demands include two or more campus convocations and forums dedicated to the issues of consent, sexual violence, sexual relationships and health relationships. They also demand the “immediate cessation of harmful, victim-blaming information” from all three campus police departments, and the removal of a photo of Bill Cosby from Morehouse’s financial aid office.

Spelman's president sent out a statement to the college community on Tuesday addressing "growing frustration in our community about the climate of sexual respect and inconsistencies in AUC practices regarding Title IX." President Mary Schmidt Campbell also outlined some of the initiatives the college has taken to strengthen its handling of sexual violence.

The demands come a week after Vice President Joe Biden visited Morehouse speaking to Atlanta University Center students about changing the culture of sexual violence on campuses. Biden’s visit was part of a three-campus tour touting the federal “It’s On Us” campaign imploring students to help stop these crimes.

A day after Biden’s visit, a Morehouse student took to social media posting a “Graves Sexual Consent Contract,” named for Morehouse’s Graves residence hall. The contract, published and shared widely on social media, sparked outrage among AUC students. Morehouse officials emailed students the following day condemning the contract, calling it “distasteful and hurtful to women and men across the AUC.”

On Tuesday a forum on Spelman’s campus to address the current state of Title IX — the section of federal law that outlaws sexual discrimination and violence — drew mixed reactions from students, with some encouraged by the forum and others discounting its effectiveness.

“There was a lot of rhetoric today,” said Spelman student Clarissa Brooks, a member of the group demanding change and of AUC Shut It Down, which interrupted presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s recent Clark Atlanta visit. “We need a statement specifically saying that Spelman and Morehouse will not condone sexual cultural that allows for sexual violence and the mistreatment of victims, and we didn’t get that.”

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