H-CAL POLY

Jun 2, 2011 9:21 PM by Ariel Wesler

Cal Poly students rally to end sexual assault on campus

Students at Cal Poly are joining hands in the fight against sexual assault on campus. Last month, there were three rapes reported in nine days on the Cal Poly campus. Police are not charging two people suspected of committing the crimes due to a lack of evidence. Meanwhile, the university says it's conducting its own investigation, but students want to see school leaders do more.

Students joined hands on Dexter lawn at Cal Poly, taking a stand against sexual assaults on campus.

"It's great to have petitions online. It's great to have people speaking in forums, but when people are forced to hold hands, they're making that commitment physically," said Katie Zombro, who organized the rally.

It wasn't just women who showed up.

"I definitely get stares walking through campus," said Senior Eric Davis. He was wearing an "I Love consensual sex" shirt with pride, doing his part to stop the "blame the victim" mentality.

"A lot of that is perpetrated more by the male audience," Davis said.

Students have hosted other rallies since the reported rapes last month, but organizers say there is still room for improvement.

"We were saying that no means no and yes means yes, and people were screaming, what about maybe," Zombro said.

Students are petitioning the university to boost funding for sexual assault prevention, education, and recovery. Dressed in red, they urged those walking by to sign it.

Those who don't sign this petition aren't necessarily ok with sexual assault, but organizers say those who do sign it are taking an active role to stop it.

"It's like sex is taboo and people try and ignore it, but you have to face these things in order to prevent them from happening in the future," Davis said.

So far, organizers have collected more than 6,000 signatures both on paper and online. Students from the Society of Women Engineers coordinated today's rally. As the largest student club on campus, they say rallies like this one help them speak out for a lot of women at Cal Poly.

Depending on the outcome of the university's investigation, the suspects could face expulsion.

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