Members of the Harvard University Class of 2014 marked their graduation caps today with red tape as a symbol of support toward victims of sexual assault and to protest the university’s response to attacks on campus.
The action was organised by Our Harvard Can Do Better, a victims’ support group on campus. According to the group’s website, “[the red tape] is a respectful gesture of solidarity for survivors, celebration of the work done by the senior class to bring attention to the issue of sexual violence, and call of urgency for the work that needs to be continued to create a safer campus.”
In a recent survey conducted by The Harvard Crimson, 12% of women in the Class of 2014 said they were sexually assaulted at Harvard, but only 16% of victims reported the assault. Both Harvard College and Harvard Law School are under review by the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights after Title IX complaints were filed against the school alleging that college officials discouraged victims from pursuing discipline for assailants.
“I would like to see more than task forces,” Kate Sim, a graduating senior who helped found Our Harvard, said in an interview with Bloomberg. “Policy change is a long process, but I would like to see students more integrated into the change-making process.”
Bloomberg reports that graduates at two fellow Ivy League schools — Brown University and Columbia University — also wore markings on their mortarboard’s to stand in solidarity with victims of sexual assault.
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