Flames of the Torch: On the recent #SurvivingSJU talks, findings


Torch Staff

St. John’s has been under a fair amount of scrutiny since #SurvivingSJU trended nationally last month, leading students to criticize what they see as an ineffective sexual assault reporting system. This comes as several student groups on campus have held demonstrations to voice their displeasure with administrators in the past semester on this topic. In light of the events that transpired on Twitter last month, students have anticipated the University’s next move. Read Kenny Carter’s full story on page two.

In an attempt to extend support to students, a panel of University administrators and external experts sat in front of an almost 50-student-audience in the D’Angelo Center on Thursday, Feb. 12. This discussion marks the first event put on by the University, responding to the #SurvivingSJU hashtag. The goal of this panel was to inform students of the options that are available to them, if an incident were to occur. Title IX coordinator, Keaton Wong, was one of the panelists. A representative from the Mayor’s Office, Serena Curry, was among the external representatives who were present to share relative information with students in attendance. The presence of external resources is a step in the right direction on the University’s part. Since many students may not feel comfortable confiding in SJU counselors, there are other options, including contacting the Office of Civil Rights in the NYC Department of Education.

As well as hosting the panel, SJU administrators put up signs around campus that outlined consent. Some read,“Drunk doesn’t mean consent.” While these signs are less of a grand move than the discussion panel, they are a telling indication that the administration is aware of the issue and wants students to know it.

The University initially said in a statement to the Torch last month that they would be reaching out to students who posted about sexual violence incidents. While we realize that specific names and details cannot be distributed, our editorial board would like to urge University administrators to be as transparent as possible about what their investigations uncovered. The student body deserves to be informed about any and all direct conduct repercussions as a result of #SurvivingSJU.

SJU has a ways to go to gain the trust of the student body. If these initial actions are any indicator, the road ahead is looking up.