Monthly Newsletter

SCAR @ USC November/December Newsletter

I. Newest Updates

II. Event Spotlight: SCAR Potluck

Take a break before stop days on Friday, December 6th at the SCAR potluck dinner! This event will be held at 6:00 pm. RSVP through Facebook.

Bring a dish if you can and come meet your fellow members. Besides sharing a delicious meal, we will be discussing the SCAR Zine, and other initiatives for next semester and beyond. As a growing organization, SCAR is always looking for more member participation. Please join us – we want to hear what you have to say!

Upcoming Events

Wednesday 12/4
7:30 – 8:30 pm | GFS Lobby

SCAR’s last meeting of the semester!

Friday 12/6
6:00 pm

SCAR Potluck Dinner (RSVP on Facebook)

Monday 1/13/14
Deadline for submissions to the official SCAR Zine

Happy Holidays!

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Copyright © 2013 Student Coalition Against Rape. All rights reserved.

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Monthly Newsletter

SCAR @ USC October Newsletter

In this issue: Five things you can do RIGHT NOW to make USC a safer campus! Look for the teal ribbon icon to find out how you can get involved.

teal ribbon icon Come to our General Meeting this Wednesday, 10/16 at 8:30 pm in the GFS Lobby. General meetings are held every third Wednesday of the month.

I. S.C.A.R. in the News

USC admitted this week to underreporting 13 cases of sexual assault. Check out these articles for more information:

teal ribbon iconPlease share these articles on Facebook, Twitter, etc! And use these hashtags: #9forIX #USC #FightOn

II. 9forIX: Our 9forIX petition has 500+ signatures!

Kaya Masler’s petition outlines 9 easy steps USC can take to make USC a safer campus and fully comply with Title IX. (For more info, check out the KnowYourIX website.)

YOU can help SCAR create real change by putting this petition on blast. So sign, share, and keep speaking out!

teal ribbon iconSign the petition, and don’t forget to share!

teal ribbon iconWant to help SCAR reach 1000 signatures? We’re going to be tabling next week outside campus hotspots! If you’re able to help, please fill out your availability on this poll.

III. Event Spotlight: 28th St. March

We at SCAR have been talking about addressing street harassment in a public way, and we have an idea we’re pretty excited about – involving wacky outfits, various student assemblies, multi-media, and musicianship. Street harassment, aka cat-calling, is a dehumanizing behavior that happens when a stranger makes unsolicited, often disrespectful and even threatening comments to someone on the street. People of ALL genders, races, and sexual orientations are subject to street harassment.

Check out these PSAs for more info:

SCAR believes no one should be harassed and dehumanized for being in public. Drawing inspiration from some responses to street harassment, SCAR will be putting on a march down the Row. The idea is simple: walk down 28th St. wearing whatever outfit you want!

Date TBD. This could happen as early as Monday 10/21, so stay tuned!

IV. In the Works: SCAR Zine!

We’re excited to announce the launch of a SCAR Zine – a DIY magazine by USC students, for USC students! It’s all about showing off your talents and speaking out about what matters to you!

teal ribbon icon Submit op-eds, poetry, prose, drawings, etc to uscscar@gmail.com.

Upcoming Events

Monday 10/14 – Friday 10/18

Domestic Violence Awareness Week

Wednesday 10/16

6-8:30 pm | THH 101

Queer People Of Color Zine Night

Featuring POC Zine Project as part of their “Race Riot!” Tour.

Wednesday 10/16

8:30-9:30 pm | GFS Lobby

SCAR General Meeting

Date TBD

28th St. March

Come to the General Meeting to learn more!

Friday 11/8

6:30-7:30 pm | Tommy Trojan

Anti-Human Trafficking Rally

Hosted by World Vision ACT:S.

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Copyright © 2013 Student Coalition Against Rape. All rights reserved.

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This incredible infographic was made by the ASU coalition, Sun Devils Against Sexual Assault. If you’re from ASU, the ninth Thing to Know is for you. If you’re from USC or want to know even more about SCAR, email us at uscscar@gmail.com and follow SCAR on facebook. If you want to Know more about Your IX, visit  knowyourix.org.

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KNOW YOUR IX!

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Dear Trojan Freshmen Letter

The following letter was published in Neon Tommy on August 16, 2013

Dear Trojan Freshmen,

You must have heard by now that USC is in hot water for underreporting and mishandling cases of sexual assault. You’ve heard that USC might not be a safe place. Maybe you are worried that if something happens to you, you won’t have a place to go or someone to turn to.

The Student Coalition Against Rape’s priority is support of those who have experienced sexual violence. SCAR members are students and alumni who are survivors and allies. They will serve to provide peer support and recommend resources for professional care. SCAR also aims to prevent assault by outlining what constitutes rape and the various forms of sexual violence, as well as factors that contribute to that violence.

USC is not out of the ordinary for being a school at which sexual violence occurs. Sexual violence occurs every day at colleges across the nation. It is, sadly, a cultural problem.

When we protested the university’s mishandling of sexual assault cases in May, we were met with indifference. This is why we took our grievances to the federal government and voiced them to the nation.

SCAR is dedicated to helping create a safer campus for you, and the rest of the student body. If you would like to be part of our coalition, please contact us as uscscar@gmail.com.

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Our merchandise shop!!

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We will be making T-shirts with our new logo and setting up a custom design line (DIY-style, but we will do it for you!).

And to those generous donors who contributed to the SCAR Defense Fund who selected Perks, and to whom we owe T-shirts, thank you (Thank you!!) for your patience! We will get them out and sent when our shop is up and running.

Check back for more details.

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COMING SOON!

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Regarding the Provost’s letter to the USC community

On July 26, Provost and Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Elizabeth Garrett sent a letter to the University of Southern California student body regarding the recent investigation led by the Dept. of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) into USC’s compliance with federal Title IX laws requiring the protection of students from sexual and gender-based hostility and violence. The investigation was launched in response to a complaint prepared by the Student Coalition Against Rape (SCAR) on behalf of multiple students who have experienced such violence at USC.

SCAR finds the Provost’s letter encouraging, as it marks the reopening of a forgotten dialogue between student survivors and allies and university administrators on the issue of sexual violence. While it does not address many of the serious issues our coalition has raised, the letter proposes several reforms to improve the university’s treatment of sexual misconduct, including the employment of an additional specialist to address sexual misconduct cases and the expansion of training programs for students, employees, and Department of Public safety officers on the prevention of sexual crime. While not mentioned in the letter, USC has also updated the DPS website with more thorough information on acquaintance rape and reporting a sexual crime. These reforms constitute the university’s most thorough response to this issue in years.

Many times in the university’s recent history, student groups like SCAR have emerged, to advocate for increased protection of students from sexual misconduct. In 2011, the SAFER Campus Coalition was formed in response to a viral email written by a member of USC’s Kappa Sigma fraternity chapter and advocating rape. While USC made minor updates to their policies and publications on sexual misconduct, efforts at more comprehensive reform were abandoned following the graduation of SAFER’s leadership.

In light of multiple survivors coming forward and asserting that their assaults were not appropriately handled by USC, SCAR approached the university in the spring of 2013, asking—again—for the comprehensive reform SAFER had demanded two years prior. After individual appeals were repeatedly ignored, SCAR organized a demonstration on campus demanding accountability for sexual misconduct and delivered letters to four different administrators outlining specific policy reforms to ensure Title IX compliance. SCAR was never contacted by any member of the administration with a response to our stated demands, despite our explicit request for a response. 

In May of 2013, the complaint was filed with OCR on behalf of 13 named and 3 unnamed survivors of sexual violence while students at USC. As SCAR has previously stated, the complaint was found by the OCR to warrant a general investigation into the university’s procedures in the cases of sexual misconduct. So far, 3 of the complainant’s cases have also been accepted by the OCR for individual investigation. Other cases have not been accepted because they fall outside a time statute of 180 days or because they contain violations that are not explicitly specified under the limited accountability offered by the federal government—not, as the Provost’s letter suggests, because these allegations were found to be untrue. The OCR has stated that they do not have jurisdiction to respond to some of the cases cited, however this does not take diminish the veracity of the remaining claims, nor the weight of the injustices outlined.

The Provost states in her letter that certain statements by DPS officers regarding the accepted cases have been mischaracterized by the press. Since the university statement to the community was released, our Office for Civil Rights investigator has confirmed, “USC has not received any documents or information from our office other than OCR’s official correspondence notifying it of the allegations under investigation.” Therefore, the university is not able to make claims regarding the veracity of our claims: they do not know the extent or context of our claims, even though some of the claims have been publicized. It is deeply disturbing that USC, which claims to be deeply concerned with student safety would choose to overlook student concerns that the school’s security officers are not meeting basic responsibilities.

In addition to 16 individual cases, comments from more than 80 students who responded to an anonymous survey circulated in May of 2013 were also included in the complaint in order to paint a more complete picture of the living and learning environment at USC. 

While we cannot make the details of these comments public, we can share that they provide valuable input regarding the following four areas of concern:

· The inadequacy of USC’s orientation program on sexual assault;
· USC’s failure to adequately inform students of their rights in cases of sexual misconduct;
· Students’ lack of comfort and/or confidence in reporting an attack to the authorities and resources set up on USC’s campus; and,
· An overall feeling of vulnerability to sexual or gender-based hostility within the USC community

These statements have helped to display that USC has much room for improvement in educating students and in responding to sexual misconduct. SCAR does not feel that the OCR’s decision not to pursue individual investigations of these statements is an adequate reason to dismiss, as the Provost’s letter has done, the input of more than 80 students on gender-based hostility and sexual violence at USC. In fact, we would expect that USC take the opportunity to thoroughly review these comments in order to help identify and address the community’s specific needs.

It was stated in the Provost’s letter that USC is a “national leader in procedures to deal with sexual violence and sexual harassment.” SCAR is asking that the university stand by this statement. SCAR’s actions are motivated exclusively by the desire to make our university a safer and more inclusive space for all students, a goal the university has claimed to share. In the coming months, SCAR will continue to raise awareness about sexual violence on USC’s campus and to document individual instances where such violence does not receive due attention, in the hopes of advancing this goal and of generating practical solutions to make it more attainable. It is our greatest wish that USC’s administration recognize the critical importance of student input in addressing this ongoing issue so that our campus can truly be “free of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and violence, and supportive of those affected.”

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KNOW YOUR IX and EROC

Two fantastic websites full of resources have launched this week:

1) The Know Your IX Campaign: a campaign that aims to educate ALL college students in the U.S. about their rights under Title IX. Created by leaders from Yale, this website has resources about everything, from filing complaints and lawsuits, to coping with a lack of support from loved ones, to dealing with religion and homophobia as a survivor.

2) End Rape on Campus (EROC): a new organization that can help students/staff/faculty/college community members file Federal Complaints (including Title IX and Clery Act-crime reporting) to help hold colleges accountable for how they handle and mishandle sexual misconduct. This team is on-call and will respond within 24 hours. They’ve already helped people from many schools, including SCAR members, file complaints.

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