The Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism at Boston University is an all-student-run women’s center; we operate based on consensus. The incident that made us at the center start thinking about [the school’s response to rape] was the allegations against [BU hockey player] Max Nicastro [which were later dropped]. When the story broke on February 19, I remember talking about it with a friend. Only when we got to the board meeting did I realize it was THE START OF SOMETHING HUGE. We were saying, this wasn’t just a crime involving one person. There is a larger issue.
We mobilized and tried to start the conversation around what we were initially deeming A “RAPE CULTURE.” The number of sexual assaults BU’s police department reports do not reflect people’s actual experiences.
We decided to start a campaign for a rape crisis center. Counselors at student health services were doing their best, but there weren’t specific resources for people experiencing a crisis regarding intimate violence.
WE STARTED A PETITION ON CHANGE.ORG and got 100 signatures in an hour. In a week we broke 1,000. We ended up writing a 30-page proposal with a 40-page appendix. Six of us stayed until 2 a.m., writing policy and DAYDREAMING ABOUT WHAT THE CENTER COULD DO. We submitted it on April 6 and had a meeting scheduled with the president on April 30. That morning, he e-mailed the entire university that they are opening the [Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center].
Now, it’s not a bunch of ragamuffin students, it’s a BU thing — it’s got a logo. It happened so fast, our heads are still spinning.— As told to Melissa Schorr