Content warning: sexual harassment and assault
As a sexual harassment survivor, I am calling on the University of Michigan to enact policies preventing other students from experiencing the trauma that causes the pain I continue to feel today. As survivors, we deserve justice and the feeling of being safe on campus.
Unfortunately, this is not the reality at this university.
Those in power have allowed students like me to be harassed and assaulted by predators, and it’s time they are held accountable. Small changes made by the University are a hollow appeasement tactic and do not right the wrongs of the past.
For years, students have tried to report sexual harassment crimes to University leadership and have largely been ignored. Instead of hearing our complaints and acting to rectify the situation, the University’s bureaucracy and complacency have gotten in the way.
As a result, thousands of students have fallen victim to sexual predators on campus. This has happened to me, my friends and many students before us. As I’m hearing more and more about the case against former athletic physician Dr. Robert Anderson, I realize this behavior has been allowed to go on for decades by the University.
The horrific crimes of Anderson went on for over 30 years and left more than 900 student-athletes reeling from trauma, pain and neglect. How could the University ignore over 900 student voices? The University knew the crimes of Anderson and did nothing to protect its students — it’s not doing enough today, even considering the settlement process.
Instead of standing up for what is right, the University continues to hide behind its flashy ratings and athletic programs. When will this stop? When will justice be granted to survivors like me, my friends and all of the victims of Anderson?
Those responsible for protecting Anderson and other abusers on campus, as well as those dismissing their actions, need to be held accountable. The University needs to do more to change the culture of sexual assault on campus and address the root of the issue. What has been done is superficial, and still not enough. The actions taken by the University so far are too narrow and don’t do enough to protect students and support survivors.
As the Michigan Students Against Sexual Assault, we are working together to hold the University of Michigan’s leadership — and all those like it — who continue to enable predators on campus accountable. We are a group of students, survivors, friends and advocates in Michigan who formed a statewide organization to inform our peers about sexual assault on campus and hold universities that harbor sexual predators accountable.
We want students to be aware of what has happened and what is currently happening on their campuses. We want justice for the victims and those in authority to be held accountable for the suffering they have abetted. We, as students, have enough to worry about and shouldn’t have to be additionally concerned about being harassed or assaulted by a sports doctor or professor.
Throughout the year, the MSASA will be holding demonstrations and protests on campus. We will pass out literature and call on the leaders in Michigan to put an end to this multi-generational catastrophe. We will do whatever it takes for the hypocrisy and pain to come to an end.
To the University of Michigan: Enough is enough.
Porter Hughes is a junior in the College of Literature, Science & the Arts and currently serves as the press secretary for Michigan Students Against Sexual Assault. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.