Letter to the editor: Students urge for better response to sexual assault

The following is a letter written by incoming Associated Student Government president Nehaarika Mulukutla and executive vice president Rosalie Gambrah. Many students, whose names are listed below, have since signed the letter in support.

The students of this campus are ready to end the normalization of sexual assault. Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs, said in her email that the University “strives to create a campus that is safe and secure.” We have the opportunity to bring about that change on campus. Many of our demands have already been presented to Telles-Irvin in a previous student petition when the investigations began. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, none of them have been implemented in the last three months. Rather, this letter exemplifies the continuous lack of meaningful, tangible actions through which the University plans to combat the pervasive culture of sexual assault at Northwestern.

We must work together to end our campus’s sexual assault epidemic. We students know that the 65 cases that were filed under Title IX against students in the 2015-2016 academic year — of which only 8 resulted in suspension, expulsion or exclusion of a student — are a mere fraction of the actual number of incidents on this campus. Most survivors don’t want to begin the reporting process with a hostile and dismissive administration on a campus that has demonstrated time and time again that it does not care about them. The Title IX process must support survivors during reporting and cannot continue to be a source of trauma for victims.

Preventing future assaults will require a major cultural shift on campus. This change will be difficult, but after conversations with over 60 student groups and campus leaders, we firmly believe there are several tangible action items that can make this shift possible. Ending the dry campus policy and Freshman Freeze would make the campus safer for all students. We must create more first year engagement programming to explore the topic of sexual violence, with a specific focus on how marginalized identities are increasingly affected by these traumas. We also believe that student leaders should have Center for Awareness, Response and Education training, and we should support reform initiatives within the Interfraternity Council to ensure individuals and organizations complicit with sexual assault and harassment are held accountable.

If the best support that the University can offer to survivors is “information on how to contact local police” or referencing the “information and resources … on the Sexual Misconduct website,” it is absolutely failing to support survivors. Survivor resources must include: increased university funding for CARE, which relies on dwindling government grants; a liaison with NorthShore Health Services to end the predatory practice of charging for rape kits; restoration of counseling services to the Women’s Center; and accommodations for trauma survivors, even those who choose not to pursue an investigation.

In the fight against sexual violence, continued inaction is complicity. We are prepared to work with Telles-Irvin to change Northwestern for the better — but the administration must be prepared to listen and act. Northwestern students will not stop fighting to make our campus safer. Having heard our outrage, we hope the administration will decide to fight with us.


Nehaarika Mulukutla, Associated Student Government President-elect
Rosalie Gambrah, Associated Student Government Executive Vice President-elect
Molly Benedict, Former President of Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators (SHAPE)
Mollie Cahillane, Former President of Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators (SHAPE), Former Vice President Northwestern University Equestrian Team
Elena Dansky, Co-Director of NU Listens
Allyna Mota-Melville, Co-Director of NU Listens; VP Standards of Kappa Delta Sorority
Rodney Orr, President for the Interfraternity Council
Karalyn Berman, President for the Panhellenic Association
Nathan Gunawan, Interfraternity Council VP for Programming
Nathan McCardel, Interfraternity Council VP for Administration
Parker Levinson, Vice-President of Standards for the Panhellenic Association
Peter Beer, Interfraternity Council VP for Community Engagement
Martin Johnson, Interfraternity Council VP for Public Relations
Erin Freeman, Vice-President of Membership Development for the Panhellenic Association
Anna DiStefano, co-Vice President of Student Life for Associated Student Government
Ben Chase, PLEX Senator
Ben Powell, ASG Co-Vice President for Student Life
Daniella Lumpkin, ASG Speaker
Daniel Wu, ASG VP of A-Status Finances
Gabrielle Bienasz, ASG Residential Senator District 4
Justine Kim, ASG Student Groups Caucus Whip
Lars Benson, ASG Residential Caucus Whip
Parth Lalkiya, ASG VP for B-Status Finances
Shayna Servillas, Chair of the Election Commission, EIC of N. Interdisciplinary Law Review
Shelby Reitman, Former ASG Chief Justice
Abby Weissman, Outgoing Co-Chair of the Student Theatre Coalition (StuCo)
Abhishek Chaturvedi, Former President of Northwestern Photography Club
Adam Crittenden, President of Fight for Freedom
Alani M. Vargas, Vice President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Northwestern Chapter and co-Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Northwestern
Ali Qureshi, Cricket Team Captain
Amy Angarita, Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators Outreach Committee
Andy Brown, former Editor-in-Chief of North by Northwestern
Angelina Strohbach, Former External Relations Administrator for Delta Zeta
Anne d’Aquino, President and director of Mentorship Opportunities for Research Engagement
Ashwin Kulkarni, Science and Technology Editor for NBN
Bennett Hensey
Blake Maier, President of Sigma Nu Fraternity
Bobbie Burgess, President Emeritus of the National Society of Black Engineers
Bria Kalpen, Treasurer of Purple Haze A Cappella
Brian Liu, President of St. Baldrick’s at Northwestern
Brock Colyar, Treasurer of Spoon NU
Bryce Halloran, President, Phi Delta Theta Fraternity
Caitlin Hakala, Class of 2013 and former UHAS/SAHAS Representative
Camille Casmier, Co-President of Northwestern University Women Filmmakers Alliance
Camille Cooley, Program Director of Northwestern Alternative Student Breaks
Candace Nixon, President of the National Society of Black Engineers
Cari Schuette, President of NU Veg Society
Caroline Rabourn
Christopher LaMountain, Internal Social Chair of the Delta Chi Fraternity
Christopher Li, President of Asian American InterVarsity
Colin Wang, Vice President of the Undergraduate Chemistry Council
Conway Zhu, President of IEEE NU
Crosby Shores, Head of NSET and Treasurer of Delta Chi
Daniel Evan Sanders, CEO of Brainfood
Dasha Gorin, Co-President of Undergraduate Radio/TV/Film Student Association
Dhivya Sridar, Diversity & Inclusion Chair SASA
Dominick Mugavero, Executive Director of Purple Crayon Players
Edward Duron, Executive Board Member of Northwestern Interfaith Initiative
Eish Sumra, Editor in Chief of Scene+Heard
Elana Ross, Former Director for Medill for the Office of New Student and Family Programs
Elizabeth Wynekoop, Vice President I/Coordinator of Committees of Zeta Tau Alpha
Emily Harriott, President of NU Wildside
Emma Kupor, Co-Chair and Treasurer of Vertigo Productions
Ethan Roubenoff, President of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity
Garrett Thomas, New Member Educator of Sigma Nu Fraternity
Gina Livecchi, Former President of Zeta Tau Alpha
Grace Jing, Internal President of the Asian Pacific American Coalition
Hannah Johnson, Co-Chair of Take Back the Night
Harman Bharj, New Member Educator for Alpha Chi Omega
Hayeon Kim, President of Immigrant Justice Project
Hayley Miller, President of Zeta Tau Alpha
Helen Murphy, Online Editor-in-Chief of Northwestern Art Review
Henry Castellani, Former President of the Undergraduate Premedical Society
Isabel Schwartz, Director of the Wellness Coalition
Jamie Kuhn, Tour Manager of Purple Crayon Players
Jeremy Yu, President of Hong Kong Student Association
Jesse Vega-Perkins, Former President of Engineers Without Borders
Jessica Lee, Former Vice President of Public Relations of Kappa Delta
Jessica Lewis, Co-President of NCDC
Jessica Wang, President of the Northwestern Undertones
Jillian Berry Refresh Dance Crew Choreographer
Joanna Wan, Chancellor of Delta Sigma Pi Professional Fraternity
Jonathan Ni, President of the Undergraduate Economics Society
Jonathan Wrobel, Co-Director of Northwestern University Community for Human Rights
Joshua Werblin, Co-founder & Treasurer of Spring Slam Streetball Classic
Kathir Sundarraj, Director of Net Impact
Kathryn Eckhoff, President of Phi Sigma Pi, National Honor Fraternity
Kayla Carter, Director of Publications for Slivka Residential College
Keishel Lee, Former President of the Academy of Music and Arts for Special Education
Kevin Tian, Interfraternity Council VP for Risk Management
Keya Amin, Co-President of the South Asian Student Alliance
Kimberly Joy McBride, Co-Chair Executive, Lipstick Theatre
Lauren Adams, Co-Chair of Black Lives Matter NU
Liam White, Co-Director of Northwestern University Community for Human Rights
Lindsey Pape, Director of Risk Prevention and Wellness of Delta Zeta Sorority
Lisa Chen, President of Junior Achievement and Co-President of Habitat for Humanity
Lynn Vo, President of Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.
Maddy Fisher, Vice President of NU Wildside
Marisa DiPaolo, Co-Director, Northwestern Community Health Corps
Mary K. Goss, Artistic Director of Arts Alliance
Matthew Xu, Former President of Delta Chi
Megan Ballew, Co-President of Studio 22 Productions
Meghan Reckmeyer, Co-President of International Gender Equality Movement
Melody Basinger, President of Delta Sigma Pi Professional Fraternity
Meredith Mackey, Community Representative of the Student Theatre Coalition
Michael Kelleher, Executive Producer of the 76th Annual Dolphin Show
Mihir Swaroop, President of AIESEC at Northwestern
Nakul Patel, Co-Captain of Northwestern Anubhav
Nina Sedeno, President of the International Studies Residential College
Noah Alvarado, Treasurer of Rogers House and 1856 Orrington Programming Board
Olivia Kuncio, President of Northwestern College Feminists
Paige Leskin, member of National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association’s Northwestern chapter
Pascale Carrel, Vice President of Community Service for Kappa Delta Sorority
Patsy Castro, President of the Undergraduate Psychology Association
Pia Basu, President of Eco-Reps
Pierce Gleeson, Former Associate Member Counselor for Delta Chi
Prianka Murthy, Vice President of Operations for Kappa Delta Sorority
Princess-India Alexander, National Association of Black Journalists
Rachana Kolli, President of Slivka Residential College of Science and Engineering, Co-Cultural and Co-Rush Chair of Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.
Radhika Kalra, Former President of NU World Cup
Raghav Kapur, VP Lending, LEND & Co-President, The Insight Group
Raul de la Rosa, President of Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Northwestern
Rebecca Levine, Co-Advocacy Chair of ZOOZ
Reed Lancaster, President of Asterik
Robert Bourret, Former President of College Democrats
Robert Gray, Co-President of Global Brigades
Ryan Loach, Co-President of Purple Haze
Sam Hall, President of Northwestern University Model United Nations
Sanjana Lakshmi, Outgoing Co-President of International Gender Equality Movement
Sara Saltzer, President of Extreme Measures A Cappella
Sara Torres, Treasurer of Rainbow Alliance
Saya Han, External President of the Korean American Student Assocation
Sean Goldman, Teacher, Sheil School of Religion
Shanchen Pu, President of Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault
Sofia Rada, President of World Cup
Sophie Brauer, President of the Association for Undergraduate Women in Science
Spencer Simon, President of Shabbat with 10 Strangers
Stacy Tsai, Former External President of the Asian Pacific American Coalition
Steffany Bahamon, President of QuestBridge Scholars Network
Stephanie Wert, Former VP-Standards for Kappa Delta Sorority
Sumaia Masoom, Northwestern University Model United Nations Director of Outreach
Swagata Patnaik, Educational Chair of South Asian Student Alliance
Tazim Merchant, President of Northwestern University Ethics Bowl
Tushar Chandra, former Fraternity Education Officer for Phi Mu Alpha
Tyler Gould, Co-President of Studio 22 Productions
Ushasi Naha, Program Coordinator for NU Premed Peer Mentoring Program; Co-Captain of Northwestern Anubhav
Vatsala Kumar, Co-Artistic Director of Graffiti Dancers and President of New Movement Project
Victoria Alfred-Levow, Treasurer of Communications Residential College
Victoria Wee, Co-President of China Care
Zachary Person, Vice President of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity
Anand Lal-Tabak, ASG Vice President of Sustainability
Walker Zupan, Co-Chair of Freshman Urban Program
Raveena Aggarwal, Cultural Chair of SASA
Emma Zblewski, Phi Delta Epsilon VP of Finance
Samantha Spengler, Senior Section Editor, North by Northwestern
Luke Miller, Ex-Managing Editor of Spoon NU
Courtney Schulz, ISBE Vice President of Operations
Alex Dayton, Technical Director of Purple Crayon Players
Tiffany Wong, Former Co-Internal President of Asian Pacific American Coalition
Celestine Emberton, VP of Philanthropic Affairs on Residential College Board
Benjamin Scharf, VP Brotherhood of Delta Sigma Pi Professional Fraternity
Kritika Malhotra, Diversity and Inclusion Chair of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority
Joseph Raff, Former President of Delta Chi
Casey Grage, CHC Exec, GlobeMed Exec, NUCHR Exec, UNICEF Exec
Hannah Russell, Treasurer of NU Karate Club
Abhijat Shekhawat
Adrianna Leys
Alena Prcela
Alex Herz
Amit Mallik
Andrew Foster
Andrew Harlan
Anna Blakley
Anna Ucik
Archit Baskaran
Ariana Brockington
Ben Pope
Benjamin Bloch, Class of 2016
Christina Esposito
Daniel Goldstein
Drew Tanabe
Elana Golub
Elissa Gray
Elizabeth Guthrie
Emily Ash
Erica Wilczynski
Grace Brakeman
Grace Luxton
Gretchen Vogt
Hallie Cronin
Hannah Wald
Helen Lee
Holly He
Isabel Olivos
James Xie
Jasmine Teng
John Eichenlaub
Jon Marc Olivier
Kayli Fradin
Lauren Eisen
Lela Johnson
Madeleine Greene
Mahima Pirani
Maria Eulalia Domingo Cots
Marissa Page
Matthias Wuest
Megan Cahillane
Michael Deneroff
Mitch Price
Natalie Pertsovsky
Natascha Buschmann
Peter Finnegan
Peter Hartman
Priyanka Godbole
Rachel Kritzik
Rachel Silverstein
Riina Dougherty
Rita Liu
Ross Patten
Ruthie Charendoff
Samantha Vargas
Sarah Spellings
Stephanie Bernstein
Tomer Cherki
Tyler Frye
Will DeCaluwe
Xavier Vilar-Brasser
Zachary Levy
Nikki Antony
Alex Tannebaum
Grace Wade
Ying Dai
Meg Pisarczyk
Shannon Johnson
Allison Yelvington
Hector Gomez
Julia Esparza
Bobbi Throckmorton
Rebecca Schumm
Christina Layton
Ulyana Kurylo
Suzannah Kingsbury
Katherine Fisher
Deborah Shoola
Emma Baime
Salma Saavedra
Kushal Gourikrishna
Jahan Sahni
Lauren Kadavy
Richard Richter
Christine Garver
Carolina Laguna
Frances Ho
Brigitte Xu
Dylaan Cornish
Cami Rodriguez
Nicolette Shender
Julie Malewicz
HyoJung Kim
Noelle Torres
Maxime Godart
Thomas Hart
Abby Holston
CJ Patel