by Giovanni Ortiz
Stony Brook faculty and students partook in the MeToo March during campus lifetime on February 28, chanting “my body, my choice. Our body, our choice.”
“We applaud President Stanley on a stated commitment on ending sexual harassment and violence,” Davide Clark said at the beginning of the march. “However, we know that the HeForShe Program has often been a shield used by the university to avoid criticism.”
Stony Brook is one of 10 HeForShe campuses worldwide and holds an annual conference for the women empowerment group geared towards male feminists.
Students Aleeza Kazmi, David Clark, Arianna Rodriguez and other members of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance organized the event as a call to action, demanding change in the way sexual assault and abuse accusations are handled by Stony Brook University. As well as, hiring a sexual assault counselor as part of the campus Counseling and Psychological Services.
Those marching want sexual assault cases to be addressed in sixty days or less and be transparent in the criteria for hiring faculty.
It brought light to Sarah Tubs ongoing case from 2014 for suing the school after having her rape and sexual misconduct complaint went unanswered for 60 days.
The march was also organized in solidarity to the recent and quiet firing of the head swim coach Janelle Atkinson and assistant coach Jordan Bowen for the overwhelming accusations of abuse from the swim team. The swimmers’ complaints went unheard for three months before action was made.
“Where’s President Stanley in all of this?” Chris Maguire, Center For Prevention Outreach assistant and She’s the First fundraising and event chairman, said. “For someone who supports female rights and sexual safety, he’s missing in action.”
Student body marchers not only featured women, but men—a topic main speaker Aleeza Kazmi discussed as “not only a cis-gendered woman issue.”
“It takes [men] to change the culture,” Tyler Muzio said. “It’s super important for us to change ourselves because that’s the only way to change the culture.”
Alongside students were faculty members such as Interim Associate Dean of Students Jefferey A. Barnett, Associate Dean and Director of Multicultural Affairs Cheryl Chambers and Associate Director of Student Support Catherine Duffy.
In regards to being present at the student march, Duffy said, “Any time I can be a support to students, I wanna be there.”
The march started in front of the SAC and around the academic mall passing the Charles B. Wang Center, Staller, the front of Harriman and back to SAC behind the Earth, Space and Sciences building.
“I’m a victim of child sexual abuse,” Elorna Pierre said. “I know that I’m not alone. I know that people are here to support me. I know that I am here to support others.”
CAPS, CPO and Title IX officers were present in the SAC.