Xiani Zhong

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Posters accuse authority inaction toward sexual assault on campus

Posters accuse UW administration, police of inaction toward sexual assault

Posters were put up without permission from building managers

· Apr 14, 2016
(Read the story online)
Many University of Wisconsin students spotted hand-drawn posters on the George L. Mosse Humanities Building’s walls and outside the Memorial Union Thursday morning, which accused officials of not taking action against sexual assault on campus.

The posters claim “Becky B don’t care about me,” “UWPD don’t care about me,” “We carry that weight,” and also featured quotes from University of Wisconsin Police Department, saying things like “It’s unfortunately too late to send any officers to the scene,” — trying to make a statement about how police officers are not actively responding to sexual assault cases.

UWPD spokesperson Marc Lovicott said while the police department respects freedom of speech, these posters convey troubling messages and inaccurate information.

“I think these statements directly contradict the reality in that the university and the police department deeply care about our students,” Lovicott said. “We work hard to prevent sexual assault, and it’s not in line with what our values are, so we would have to disagree with what the statements say.”

According to one poster, 68 percent sexual assaults were reported to police, and 98 percent of rapists never end up in jail. Lovicott said he doesn’t know where the poster makers got those statistics, but they don’t align with the actual numbers the police department have.

UWPD takes every sexual assault incident seriously, and the way they address these cases is to first and foremost make sure the victims are safe, Lovicott said. Then, UWPD gathers as much evidence as possible to hold perpetrators accountable, such as having special sensitive detectives to focus on investigation, he added.

While the data is inaccurate, Lovicott said the statement about rapists not receiving proper punishments speak volume to the national criminal justice system.

“That’s a whole separate issue, and that’s an issue that’s a challenge right now,” Lovicott said. “I don’t know where they get the information number wise, but it certainly is an issue that’s unfortunately beyond our control at the police department.”

UW spokesperson Meredith McGlone said in an email to the Badger Herald that these posters in no way reflect the beliefs or actions of the university.

Both McGlone and Lovicott said the Dean of Students Office, the Chancellor’s Office and UWPD are working hard to battle against sexual violence. McGlone cited recent examples of university-wide effort, including the AAU Sexual Assault Survey and the Tell Us campaign.

“We support freedom of expression but also understand that inaccurate information can make it more difficult for survivors to get the support they need and for the university to hold perpetrators accountable,” McGlone said in the email.

People who put up the posters did it without the permission of Humanities’ building manager, McGlone said. They were washed off the building as of now.

Students, on the other hand, are speaking out on social media.

ART IS NOT A CRIME
ART IS NOT A CRIME
ART IS NOT A CRIME
PROTEST IS NOT A CRIME
PROTEST IS NOT A CRIME
PROTEST IS NOT A CRIME

This post will be updated as more information is released.

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