W+iMS Statement of Support for O4S
Dear campus community,
In recent years, Swarthmore College has mishandled sexual assault cases, affecting many students negatively in the process. The College has acted in ways that both hurt survivors of sexual violence and inadequately punish perpetrators of violence. After the discussions led by Organizing for Survivors across campus in the past few weeks, W+iMS has felt the need to release a statement supporting the hard work of survivors and allies in Organizing for Survivors.
As members of W+iMS, we are acutely aware of the differing realities of being distinct presences in male-dominated spaces. We are consistently working to make sure that mathematical spaces are more accomodating for gender minorities. It is our mission to encourage the voices and validate the presence of every person in the Swarthmore Mathematics community, regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity. Sexual assault, harassment and other violence is a gruesome phenomenon that disproportionately affects gender minorities and people of color. In line with our mission of making the Swarthmore Mathematics department more accessible, we are speaking out against the College’s mistreatment of sexual assault cases.
Poor treatment of sexual assault cases has a direct impact on students in the classroom. The trauma from the crimes committed against survivors becomes compounded with the pressure to either stay silent, resulting from the inadequacy of past College responses, or to speak up and become retraumatized by the inefficacy of the College. We cannot expect students to feel safe in an environment where they fear bodily harm and subsequent victim-blaming and gaslighting, let alone expect students to learn and to thrive.
Organizing for Survivors has generated a wave of activism and support for survivors that is bringing to light Swarthmore College’s need for policy change. It is important for all of us to do our part to ensure that we, and future generations of Swarthmore students, can feel safe in our own community. By this, we do not mean safer, or almost safe, or “it could be worse. ” We mean that every Swarthmore student should feel safe and comfortable in our community. We wholeheartedly support and encourage the striking efforts from all the brave and powerful voices involved in Organizing for Survivors.
Emily Barranca, Zara Williams-Nicholas, Madison Shoraka, Natasha Lodhi