The O.S.A.C. Model Action Kit for Bringing Sexual Assault Policy Reform to Your CampusGetting Started: 1. Identify invested individuals from staff, faculty, and students • importance of faculty: most permanent part of community, staff leaves and students graduate • importance of students: vested interest, tuition, Title IX and ACLU rights, most directly affected by sexual assault epidemic, important bystanders, potentially shift hook up culture • importance of staff (administrators): staff can be strong allies but job security and internal collegiate pressures may prevent them from fully aligning with efforts concerning college policy and procedures 2. Identify leaders for a core group • although change will require lots of buy in across campus, trying to mobilize and start off with too many voices may impede progress and draw out decision making • trained individuals and ones already involved in these issues will provide valuable insight into best practices and institutional memory in these efforts • survivor voices (if available and willing) and witnesses to college policies and procedures provide strongest testimony and best insider insight, activism may not be a part of every survivor’s healing process however so individuals should never be pushed to participate • establish clear goals and a timeline for efforts, create these goals as a group and hold to them moving forward to maintain efficiency • core group may be strongest organizationally but does not have to include most vocal or visible members, individuals with common goals rather than egos may be important in keeping momentum within the group and avoiding derailing drama • diverse voices may strengthen the arguments and research of the group, different perspectives may be aware of different aspects of problems on campus that may go undetected by others, acknowledge intersectionality! (race, gender, ethnicity, age/year)
Assessing your campus climate and policies surrounding sexual assault: 1. Do your research • Research best practices including DOJ recommendations, Title IX rights and requirements, policies and practices of peer institutions • Some schools doing great work: Yale, Carleton College, University of New Hampshire 2. Create a tool of assessment • OSAC’s first project was to assemble a three column metric laying out best practices in areas including Education, Support, Oxy’s current approach, and offered suggestions for how to bring Oxy in line with best practices OSAC Metric: http://oxysexualassaultcoalition.wordpress.com/resources/ ▪ Nine topics assessed in our metric: Policy, Reporting Procedures, Investigation Procedures, Adjudication, Survivor Support Services, Prevention Programming, Evaluation, Public Reporting, Institutional FeaturesGetting the Word Out: 1. Wordpress really got the ball rolling for OSAC! http://oxysexualassaultcoalition.wordpress.com/ • create a blog or website that will be easily searchable with titles people would use to find what your site offers (e.g. Oxy Sexual Assault, Oxy News, Occidental College, OSAC - as visibility of your org increases) • Allow a space for survivors to share their truth ➔ Something we learned: be sure to communicate confidentiality (no names for legal purposes), length of entries you would like, that your group maintains privilege to edit entries to avoid harmful content on our page, and the focus of the posts (OSAC needed to refocus our page on experiences related to sexual assault at Oxy acknowledging that many students experience violence before the age of 18) • Provide resources and education! http://oxysexualassaultcoalition.wordpress.com/resources/ ➔ Use PDF formats and presentations that can be found through SlideShare ➔ When OSAC tried to provide first year students with a report/support option flowchart, an emergency response sheet, and guide for supporting survivors the administration threw them out. They are now being seen by thousands of viewers on the blog and have been adapted for use at institutions in the UK. • Great venue for keeping people updated with your efforts and upcoming events!
• Get your numbers up! The more people visit your site, the higher it will be in search results ➔ Have group members put in some time visiting and reloading your site so that it is easier for people to find or stumble upon ➔ Use multiple tags per post including your school’s name • Keep track of traffic to your site as proof of mass investment in your cause which can give you leverage when communicating with administrators ➔ OSAC’s blog received thousands of hits in the first two weeks online from across the US and abroad (5,000 hits total in the first month) ➔ Resources we created are now in use at multiple universities in the US and the UK 2. Facebook • Events and pages are great ways to get the word out if your campus is very active with facebook • If there are conflicts between involvement in your group and individual employment, try to have someone without such concerns ‘host’ and update the event 3. Covert operations (most important if your administrators aren’t on board yet) • Know your campus! If people respond most to posters - make them! If email is the way to go - send out some email blasts from listservs your allies have access to! If there are central places like a student union, cafe, library commons, etc - make sure you are visible, especially when getting the word out about upcoming rallies and/or protests • *Be mindful of clean up crews and staff at your school, although sexual violence is vitally important, it is unfair to throw huge messy events or awareness campaigns and expect other people to clean up after you 4. Word of mouth! • Person to person contact trumps social media any day. If someone is invited to a protest by a friend who teaches them about the realities of the sexual assault epidemic, they are now invested in being a part of this amazing movement • It is also much more awkward to turn down invites in person than to press ‘no’ on a Facebook eventCommunicating With Administrators: 1. Recognize the Old Boys Club mentality of administrations at most colleges • sexual violence is still considered a taboo topic even within our media fueled Rape Culture which normalizes violence with constant objectifying, brutal images
• increases in reporting of sexual abuse may be seen to many who have not started to examine these issues as rise in rates of crime, however, it could and should be celebrated as more survivors feeling safe enough to come forward • most schools don’t want to see rises in reports because of possible impacts on school stats for incoming students and alumni donors 2. Join us! Approaching administrators as concerned allies may yield productive collaboration • it is difficult to break a militant image once you have been portrayed as a “loud, angry ______(insert title here)” 3. Beware of the formation of large committees without trained individuals running them • creating expansive committees of people already involved in a faulty process can produce the same challenges we advocate against in forming your coalition, too many voices take up too much time! • although we hope most people have the safety of students in mind, it is also possible that such committees and bureaucratic processes can be very effective stalling mechanisms from apathetic or resistant higher ups 4. Be up front with expectations and deadlines • OSAC communicated 12 demands with a set deadline of when we expected to hear back from administrators about how the “OSAC dozen” would be implemented, at the end of the deadline would a Day of Action (celebration or sit-in), this creates leverage while also giving administration an opportunity to get on board and actually be celebrated • Now that the demands have been accepted, the Oxy administration has until May 1st to implement them with a check in on April 15th, the same Day of Action rules applyMOBILIZING THE PEOPLE (organizing a Day of Action):Planning Ahead*IMPORTANT: Before protesting, hold a meeting with people planning to attend the eventto discuss the schedule, logistics, leadership positions (e.g. peacekeepers positioned onthe perimeter of the march/sit in), how to maintain a nonviolent approach, and possiblelegal and/or collegiate ramifications. The LA based organization 99 Rise provides trainingson how to execute nonviolent demonstrations. 1. Planning and advertising logistics
• Print and publish a detailed schedule of events with times to be handed out at the event • Assign organizers specific duties (food runner, photographer, point person, etc.) and post tasks online/document everyone has access to • Make a map to be handed out at the rally of the route you will be taking for a march and/or event locations 2. Feeding the masses • Plan to bring snacks/refreshments, fueled up activists are the most enthusiastic! 3. Posters, Speeches, and Chants, oh my! • Organize poster making, buy/find supplies, offer suggested slogans ➔ OSAC held poster making right before the march and brought stencils of our logo to put on shirts and posters with spray paint • Prepare chants and designate someone to pump up the crowd and keep the chants going • Print educational literature to be passed out ➔ OSAC printed resources from our blog including our demands and TItle IX rights • Write speeches explaining the logistics and purpose of the event, providing a history of your efforts, basics of the issues, explaining changes needed to address the issues fully 4. In the case of a sit-in* • Schedule food runs and ask participants to bring food or cash to the event • Make plans for restroom accessibility and breaks • Organize shifts and ensure there is always a point person to answer questions and communicate with authorities, administrators, participants, etc.Hosting the Event: 1. Mark leaders and point people (e.g. arm bands, ribbons, t-shirts) • Explain the role of leaders while passing out schedules/maps and introducing the event 2. Introduce the event • Explain the purpose of your group and event so all participants are on the same page • Emphasize nonviolent purpose and practices • Pass out printed resources 3. Consider reading Survivor’s Stories • It is vital to receive permission to do so from survivors directly! • Give a trigger warning before reading any stories at the event and offer individuals the opportunity to step out or away if they need to take time
• Indicate support people for individuals to talk to during the event if they need support4. Open forum? • We offered time at the end of the event for people to share their thoughts ➔ Some comments became redundant thus creating a slightly awkward ending to a powerful event, the crowd definitely thinned out during the forum • Consider a speak out where survivors can share their stories ➔ *may be most successful if you are able to organize interested survivors beforehand5. Explain next steps and end on a high note • Tell people how they can stay involved • Explain your timeline for after the event ➔ OSAC shared the timeline we’d set up for the administration to enact our demands (checkpoint April 15th, completed by May 1st) • Graciously thank your amazing participants, they are awesome!