Last Saturday, President Barack Obama established the White House Task Force on Protecting Students from Sexual Assault, reaffirming his administration’s commitment to fight sexual violence on college campuses.

In a Title IX procedure in December, the University permanently separated a student athlete from our institution after naming him responsible for a sexual assault committed in 2009. While the reality of the assault and the subsequent years of inaction are deeply disturbing to our community, we can count this as an enormous success for our new Title IX policy. This thorough and conclusive investigation suggests that we are finally on the right track, that the University administration has, like Obama, re-committed itself to creating a safe environment for everyone on our campus. So far, there has been no official statement from any department of the University administration. The question remains: why are we ignoring such an enormous success?

The I Will campaign was designed to challenge the University community to engage in difficult, yet necessary, dialogue about sexual violence and the silence surrounding this instance is greatly disappointing to us. When faced with an epidemic in our own community, it is our duty as the leaders and the best to seek it out and eliminate it — a duty that in this case, was ultimately fulfilled. How can we lead by example if nobody gets the chance to hear about it?

This is our campus. It’s our business. When sexual violence haunts our friends and peers, their struggles mustn’t languish in obscurity. As a community, we deserve all the facts we need to ensure the safety and prosperity of the people we love. This silence must be broken.

In ignoring this enormous success, we reject an opportunity for silent survivors on campus to witness the justice lying within their reach, and prevent the courage of their peers from inspiring them to seek the help and support that they deserve. This is inexcusable.

Please join the I Will Team on Friday, Jan. 31 at 2:30 p.m. at Amer’s on Church Street for a conversation about the evolving Gibbons separation and Obama’s newly formed task force. We’re done with the silence. We’ll be there.

Will you?

Taylor Norton is a School of Music, Theatre, and Dance senior and campaign director of I Will.

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