About 40 Cal Poly students gathered on campus today to support increased education about sexual assault and more funding for prevention and recovery services.
Members of the Society of Women Engineers, one of Cal Poly’s largest organizations with more than 400 members, joined the rally endorsed by seven other campus organizations.
Students wore red T-shirts and held hands at the event as a symbol of unity, said Amy Johnson, a second-year biomedical engineering student.
Other supporters included the University Police Department, the SAFER program that works to prevent sexual assault on campus, and Cal Poly’s Women and Gender Studies Department.
The rally was held in response to three reported rapes on and around campus recently.
“Every major organization on campus should help to stop sexual assault,” said Kara Barbieri, a Cal Poly psychology student and a leader in the SAFER program. “We need to work towards more funding for prevention and more education.”
Barbieri said that seven student assistants who are trained rape crisis coordinators work at SAFER. But she’d like to see the hire of professional staff to help with the program.
Organizers with the Society of Women Engineers said they wanted to support acknowledging that sexual assault occurs on campus, and to unite to stop sexual assault.
“I think above all the campus needs to come together to prevent sexual violence and not become divided by speculation and blame about who’s at fault in each of the reported cases,” said Darin Dorsey, a second-year philosophy major who attended the rally.