Col­lege Park stu­dents protest Trump, sex­ual as­sault

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Talia Richman and El­lie Sil­ver­man

COLLEGEPARK— About150 Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land stu­dents de­manded ac­tion against sex­ual as­sault from cam­pus ad­min­is­tra­tors in a march of sol­i­dar­ity fol­low­ing the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump.

Or­ga­niz­ers say recorded and other com­ments by Trump dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign pro­pelled them to de­liver a let­ter to the uni­ver­sity’s pres­i­dent, Wal­lace Loh, ask­ing for train­ing for in­com­ing stu­dents to ad­dress sex­ual vi­o­lence. They also want uni­ver­sity of­fi­cials to lobby for con­sent ed­u­ca­tion in Prince Ge­orge’s County’s pri­mary and sec­ondary schools.

The pe­ti­tion de­mands that Loh “in the strong­est words re­pu­di­ate the sex­ual as­sault com­ments of Pres­i­dent-Elect Don­ald Trump. … Pres­i­dent Loh must make it clear to the cam­pus that sex­ual vi­o­lence is not a mis­un­der­stand­ing.”

“A fear­less cam­pus of fear­less ideas can’t ex­ist if peo­ple are be­ing raped,” said se­nior J.T. Stan­ley, one of the protest’s lead­ers and a mem­ber of the Uni­ver­sity Se­nate.

Stu­dents gath­ered on McKeldin Mall, where sur­vivors of sex­ual as­sault shared their sto­ries. The group left ar­ti­cles of cloth­ing — bras, un­der­wear and T-shirts — on the grass, which they said were to rep­re­sent fu­ture cam­pus rape vic­tims.

“Sex­ual as­sault and sex­ual vi­o­lence are not OK,” said uni­ver­sity alumna McLaine Rich, who took part in the rally. “No mat­ter what [Trump] thinks.”

The group marched to the main ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing, where they held an im- promptu sit-in as they de­manded a meet­ing with Loh, who was un­avail­able. A small group met with a uni­ver­sity vice pres­i­dent, Carlo Colella, for about 20 min­utes.

A uni­ver­sity spokes­woman later is­sued a state­ment. “Pre­vent­ing and in­ves­ti­gat­ing sex­ual mis­con­duct is, and will al­ways be, a pri­or­ity for the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land,” it said. “We are com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing a learn­ing and work­ing en­vi­ron­ment that is free from sex­ual mis­con­duct.”

Lo­halso sent a cam­pus-wide email urg­ing unity af­ter the elec­tion and gen­er­ally sup­port­ing stu­dent pro­test­ers.

It was the sec­ond time since Trump’s elec­tion that stu­dents here ral­lied, join­ing thou­sands who are protest­ing in Bal­ti­more and na­tion­wide. On Wed­nes­day night, more than 300 stu­dents protested on McKeldin Mall.

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