Student Government General Assembly: Jan. 22

I. Sexual Misconduct Workshop

PREPARE conducted a presentation with Student Government as part of a series of workshops Student Government is holding. The presentation gave the group some information that pertains specifically to issues of sexual misconduct so that next week each senator will be equipped with information to enable a group discussion.

Only about 5 percent of incidents of sexual misconducted are reported at Wake Forest. PREPARE discussed the confidential and non-confidential sources available to students on campus. Of those resources, most students confide in the Safe Office, which is a confidential resource available 24/7.

Throughout the year, PREPARE gives presentations to inform bystanders on how to act in a situation, to help victims handle their situation and to advise groups or organization that have accused perpetrators.

The Title IX office is where students can go to formally report incidents of sexual misconduct. The statistics say that 1 in 5 men will experience childhood sexual abuse and 1 in 3 women. There are several proposed changes in the Title IX regulations under the Trump Administration and PREPARE is holding an event this week to inform students of those changes because they are relevant to students. For example, universities will no longer be able to adjust students’ schedules or remove a student from a shared classroom or dorm unless the victim wins a formal investigation.

Feb. 18 – 21 is Tie a Yellow Ribbon Week, which includes one event each day to inform students about sexual misconduct. Events include Puppies with PREPARE and Sex Trivia at Shorty’s. On March 30, the organization is putting on a Fun Run, and April 24th is Denim Day.

Key questions Student Government is considering in their workshops:

What is rape? What is sexual assault? Do definitions need to change?

Is there/what kind of rape culture do we have on campus?

Is there a connection between alcohol culture and Greek life on campus?

What stops students from reporting cases?

The group will continue the workshop next week.

II. New Business

Senate Resolution 8 was proposed during the meeting. It clarifies statements made in Senate Resolution 6 passed last semester, which condemned antisemitism on campus. Senate Resolution 6 was a huge success on the part of Student Government and actually made national news in various publications. It was a joint effort on behalf of Wake Forest University Hillel and Student Government to address and respond to recent events such as the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh and an antisemitic incident in Scales Art Center. The intent was to reaffirm support for Jewish students. However, members of Palestinian groups and clubs on campus misread the resolution and felt as though Student Government was supporting the state of Israel and subsequently taking a position in supporting Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It was then made clear to Student Government that in constructing Senate Resolution 6, they did not properly consult every relevant party on campus and gather all information needed to write the resolution. Senate Resolution 8 makes clear that Student Government does not take a position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but is rather simply condemning acts of hatred against Jewish students or any other racially or religiously motivated acts of hatred against other communities on campus. 15 minutes of discussion occurred, and Senate Resolution 8 was passed.

II. Announcements

A video is being made about Mental Health Week and it will feature students sharing their experiences. Reach out if you would like to take part!