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RCC’s opening positive progress

This week, Brandeis celebrated the opening of its Rape Crisis Center. The RCC aims to act as a safe space where students feel comfortable reporting and receiving support following sexual assault. A long time in the making, the RCC is absolutely a positive step forward in Brandeis’ handling of sexual violence on campus.

In recent years, Brandeis has rightly been criticized for its poor approach to sexual violence cases. In 2012, The Brandeis Hoot reported on a case in which a Brandeis student alleged she was raped by a Heller School student. In an editorial, The Hoot wrote that the survivor feared for her safety on campus and stated, “Administrators acted in a manner inconsistent with federal law, community standards and social justice.” In 2013, allegations surfaced of an assault at the ZBT fraternity house, which resulted in an expulsion. In September 2014, Brandeis came under investigation for Title IX violation.

Throughout these cases, there have been many calls for action from Brandeis students and faculty. Brandeis Students Against Sexual Violence (B.SASV) released a petition in April 2014 demanding a series of changes to sexual violence policy. Last September at the “Light of Reason” dedication and at the annual Messiah Sing, students protested about what they felt was an overall lack of action. Last week, The Hoot reported on the final report from the UAC Subcommittee on Sexual Violence which outlined a series of proposals.

The Hoot believes that the opening of the RCC is a concrete step in the right direction for the university and celebrates the hard work of the students who made it happen. It is a tangible resource now available to Brandeis students. We believe the RCC will help students to feel safe on campus, particularly students who need support in the traumatic aftermath of sexual assault. It demonstrates that Brandeis students, faculty and administration are all committed to fighting sexual violence on campus. From student protests and administrative promises, has come a valuable resource.

The Hoot would also like to congratulate Sheila McMahon and the student activists involved with the Rape Crisis Center. The RCC has been a work in progress for many months, and we are grateful for their hard work and deviation. They have truly worked so hard to create this Center—working to have the plan approved, to hire and train volunteers and to address logistical details such as phone setup.

Brandeis is one of the only schools in the country with a Rape Crisis Center on campus. We hope this development will shed a newfound positive light on the university, but also encourage the university to continue moving forward in the fight against sexual violence.

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