Campus as a freshman is your home. Home is supposed to be a warm, inviting, and safe space for creativity to flow and work to get done. Home is supposed to be a loving place to express yourself freely. Virginia Tech’s freshman so far this semester have taken expression and ‘love’ to a criminalizing level.
There have been six documented police reports of sexual assault and rape communicated to the student body. The reports are sent in emails to alert students of these events; however, there have been no substantial follow-ups or communication for investigations, progress, and prevention.
“It is escalating to the point of assaults in the GYM parking lot.”
- Virginia Tech Student
I visit Virginia Tech at least once a month to visit my boyfriend and these reports are very concerning. Although my risk level is not high for an assault on Tech’s campus; I am anxiously waiting for any information helpful to come out. So far, all the student body has received are vague emails with the same information. Assaults reported are largely in freshman dorms and parking lots and all situations are ‘being handled’.
Virginia Tech’s President, Tim Miller, sent a mass email on September 23rd stating, “As leaders at Virginia Tech, we are committed to living up to our great responsibility to confront and address sexual violence in our community. We are stronger when we each take responsibility for doing our part. It will take all of us, working together, to make Virginia Tech a safer campus for our community and those we care about” (T. Miller, personal communication, September 23, 2021)
Students are angry. Girls are scared. Everyone wants answers.
My boyfriend’s roommate is attending the protest outside Buress Hall on Tuesday, September 28th , to show his support for the victims. He said, “It is escalating to the point of assaults in the GYM parking lot. I am worried what will happen if this is not handled as soon as possible.” My boyfriend sighed and said, “Tech has not communicated a set course of action to the student body. I don’t know what happened over quarantine, but obviously people forgot how to act.”
Colleges are supposed to protect their students. Students living on campus should be able to feel at home, no matter what dorm or building they happen to be in. Parents send their children to college trusting that their thousands of dollars are put to education and safety. Virginia Tech is not providing victims and the student body with adequate information on prevention and progress regarding sexual assault.
Personally, I find this to be disappointing. The freshman committing these acts proves how much sexual assault education is needed. My boyfriend is right; people have forgotten how to act. I really thought our generation, GEN-Z, was against assault and rape. Maybe we just normalized women reporting it and looked past the prevention step.