Letter to the Editor: Sky and Em are unafraid to take on sexual assault, create queer spaces

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On college campuses across the country, two of the issues I find to be imperative in the current moment are the fight against campus sexual assault and the creation of more spaces for queer students — especially queer students of color — to create community.

To work against sexual violence and allow for the creation of these spaces, I believe that students and faculty at Northwestern will need to unite the forces of activism with tangible changes to campus policy. As the founder of a new queer and feminist magazine on campus, I am hoping to encourage students to engage in more expressive activism at NU through my organization, becoming on-the-ground, vocal advocates for causes they are passionate about. We can no longer consider snapping Instagram photos at the Women’s March an effective form of activism.

My knowledge about student government and inciting policy change, however, is limited, and that’s why I will be voting for Sky Patterson and Emily Ash for student body president and executive vice president in the upcoming Associated Student Government election. Admittedly, I’m a Policy Roundtable Leader on their campaign. But Sky and Emily are the only candidates for these positions that have incorporated new and refreshing policies around sexual assault and gender and sexuality inclusion into their platform — which are absolutely necessary components of anyone leading a progressive student government on campus in 2018.

Rather than calling for ASG funding reform, which is perhaps a necessary conversation but rarely palatable to the average student and already a reform in action, Sky and Emily advocate for ways to create gender-inclusive spaces including gender-neutral restrooms, promote healthy sexuality through increased funding for the Center for Awareness, Response and Education and evaluate the way the University can support the creation of spaces to party off campus with grants for groups who want to practice risk management policies at their events.

Furthermore, both Sky and Emily have proven themselves to be excellent advocates for women and the queer community in the past, through Sky’s creation of a trans-inclusive spaces guide which has been distributed to all faculty, and their condemnation — along with the rest of the ASG executive board and Senate, respectively — of the actions reportedly committed by Alec Klein and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Looking to the future and the University that I hope Northwestern will become — since we all know it has much improvement to do — it is integral that we seek to create a more equitable and inclusive school that seeks to eradicate one of the largest problems at universities today, sexual assault. Sky and Emily are prepared to chase this goal, with well-crafted policies not only for these issues, but also CTEC reform, academic reform and course affordability.

Additionally, as a student searching for new ways to engage in campus activism, their platform includes support for continued efforts to support free speech on campus, which will allow them to become the policy-driven force that will work beautifully alongside what they refer to as “a vibrant culture of protest” at Northwestern. As the election nears, I encourage fellow students to educate themselves on the platforms created by all of the candidates, but also to keep in mind the candidates with the most original, inclusive platform and the candidates who are fighting for a safer, more equitable and worthier Northwestern.

Brock Colyar
Medill sophomore
Policy Roundtable Leader on Sky and Em’s campaign