By Julia Howard ‘14Contributing Writer
On Friday, Oct. 5 the managers of the Motley Coffeehouse debuted the educational campaign “Talking Back: A Movement to End College Sexual Violence.” The campaign was developed in reaction to recent warnings about the sale and distribution of date rape drugs at the Claremont Colleges.
As activists, leaders, and students, the managers of the Motley Coffeehouse are urging administration from all 5Cs be more forthcoming about their efforts to prevent sexual violence on our campuses, as well as how they care for or respond to those who experience such violence. The managers argue that it is the responsibility of these educational institutions to engage the Claremont College community in an open dialogue about the pervasiveness of sexual violence on college campuses, on our campuses. They want to discuss how we can put an end to sexual violence and educate students on how to protect themselves and others against paradigms of abuse.
The intentions of the Talking Back movement are as follows: 1) Gain more information from the Pomona administration and the other college administrations about what they are doing in reaction to the sale and distribution of date rape drugs on campus. 2) Inform and expand student knowledge about what constitutes sexual violence, rape, coercion, and consent. 3) Educate students about how to protect themselves against sexual violence, where to seek help if they or someone they know has experienced sexual violence, and how to work outside of traditional strict gender norms to stop sexual and gendered violence.
The educational campaign kicked off with the dissemination of informational posters around the Claremont Colleges, which explicitly provided definitions of the terms “sexual violence” and “consent” and made suggestions as to how students can get involved in the Talking Back movement. The Motley managers then invited students to join the conversation by stopping by the coffeehouse on Friday, Oct. 5. There, students were encouraged to write letters demanding the Pomona Deans of Students take action and engage in a community-wide discussion of what is being done to adequately respond to the sale and distribution of date rape drugs, as well how to address and justly react to sexual violence in our college communities.
The letter writing campaign is only the beginning of the movement. The Motley managers have already written a personal letter to the Pomona Deans of Students inviting them to meet to discuss the measures the college is taking in response to the information about the presence of the date rape drug on their campus. The Motley managers hope that other student groups on the 5Cs will feel inspired to participate in the dialogue on how we can address issues that affect us all. What happens at Pomona doesn’t just impact Pomona students. We have to ask ourselves: What kind of progressive educational environment or “safe space” are we operating in when there is demand for and potential use of date rape drugs here on campus? The goal of the campaign is for the administration to openly engage with students to discuss this pressing issue, strategizing collectively about how to get the community involved in the discussion. Stand with the Motley and talk back against sexual violence here at the Claremont Colleges!