UW Tacoma’s Sexual Assault Awareness events may disappear by next year.
Event organizers say that with new faculty replacing contributors and active students graduating, the many events occurring on campus catering to sexual assault awareness could go by the wayside.
“UWT is a campus that values our students, this is an event where we support one another” said Regina Harper, an organization leader and advocate for sexual assault awareness.
For the past three years, UW Tacoma has prepared several events that promote unity through the community which allows sexual assault survivors to relive their stories.
One of the many events held by UW Tacoma is the Clothesline Project, which was presented by the Criminal Justice League and Student Social Work Organization. The event lasts four days and allows students to hang donated T-shirts in the Skybridge and Prairie Trail to represent their own sexual assault and sexual violence experiences, with the color representing the experience of each victim.
In previous years, the shirts stayed out for four straight day. But after previous years of vandalism, the shirts are now taken down at the end of each day and put back up each morning.
“We encourage you to read, empathize and understand, but please do not touch the T-Shirts or Clothesline,” reads a sign on the clothesline.
Another event that could potentially disappear next year is the candlelight ceremony with keynote speaker. This year, keynote speaker and criminal justice professor Alissa Ackerman shared her own experiences, as she helped created the sexual assault awareness events at UW Tacoma.
“[We are] giving voice to sexual violence and offer hope. Rise above in healing,” said Ackerman.
Ackerman is one of the professors leaving this year.
Professor and event organizer Tarna Derby-McCurtain says that after the event is over, they open the floor to allow victims of sexual assault to share their and “empower” anyone in the group.
Derby-McCurtain, is the current advisor of the event but soon will become part time. Assistant professor of Social Work and Criminal Justice Janelle Hawes plans to take over as the new advisor.
Although the events garner a solid crowd each year, lack of student and faculty involvement could see these events become an afterthought. The entire organization hopes that someone will step up to continue the tradition in the very near future.