Thirteen students yesterday presented President Sheldon Hackney with a list of security demands, requesting in a statement that the University upgrade its "overloaded" victim support services. The statement -- which was presented by representatives of Students Together Against Acquaintance Rape, the Undergraduate Assembly and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly -- said the students "are appalled . . . at the University's reluctance to provide adequate resources for [victim] support and education." The students, who said they acted on behalf of all University students, called for administrative support and increased funding for the Women's Center, health education and University Police's Victim Support Services. They also requested in the statement, which was read to Hackney in a closed-door College Hall meeting, that the administration provide and distribute University policies regarding sexual assault and judicial recourse. "The problem is that the resources are swamped," said STAAR representative Nicholas King at the meeting. "We need to know that the University is committed as the students are committed." Hackney told the students that safety and victim support are a "high priority item for the University," but added that these issues are the jurisdiction of Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson's office. The president defended the University's existing services, and said he will refer the matter to Morrisson. The president, who said the University's services are among the best in the country, added that it may be necessary to "shift resources" if the VPUL's office cannot fund new programs and facilitators, as some of the students claimed. Hackney agreed to give the students a progress report next week. Morrisson could not be reached for comment last night. Hackney also said that he set up a committee this fall to investigate the University's support services and policies. He said the group -- which is made up of students, faculty and administrators -- will deal with the issues brought out by the students yesterday. Some of the students said after the meeting that they were disappointed because the president did not answer their immediate questions and concerns. Others, who said they think they have Hackney's support, said they are now waiting for action. "The University has to do something, not just wait," STAAR representative Anne Siegle said after the meeting. "Rape is something you can't just wait out." University Police Commissioner John Kuprevich said last night that he also thinks the victim support services "need some extra help," but added that he does not know if the organizations need more people or money. Some of the students plan to meet with VPUL Morrisson on Monday to present her with their demands.Comments powered by Disqus
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