BLACKSBURG, Va. – Hundreds of students could be heard chanting 'Title IX excuses crime' on Virginia Tech's campus Tuesday afternoon, according to the Collegiate Times.
The newspaper reports that the crowd made its way across campus to the North End Center, which is where the school's Title IX office is held. Students gave speeches and shared their experiences with sexual assault.
The march was organized by students Juan Pacheco and Sabrina Ahmed, who were the first to give speeches, which included demands for the Title IX office, according to the Collegiate Times.
Title IX office employees were seen at the protest, but the newspaper says they did not speak publicly.
Below is a statement from the school's president, Tim Sands:
To the Virginia Tech Community,
No one should have to live in fear of sexual assault on a college campus. As survivors know all too well, such an experience will alter one’s life forever. For students, the trauma can significantly affect their ability to focus on learning and be an engaged member of the campus community. We must do everything in our power to end this threat and fundamentally change the aspects of our culture that promote sexual assault and downplay the severity of its impact. It will take all of us working together, including our campus community, parents, teachers, administrators, law enforcement, and lawmakers, to make this happen.
Our Board of Visitors recently engaged in an in-depth review of student conduct, Title IX, and the current legal environment. Promotion of preventative measures and bystander intervention is widespread. Reporting is on the rise, and confidential resources, such as our Women’s Center, which is marking its 25th anniversary, and Cook Counseling Center, are making a difference. While we are making progress in some areas, we continue to be concerned that only a small fraction of sexual assault cases are reported, and the maze of regulations and legal restrictions is becoming more complicated and difficult for survivors to navigate.
As Sexual Assault Awareness Month draws to a close, it is vital that we continue our efforts to eliminate sexual assault from society and our campus. Every member of our university community should become familiar with our resources, learn to intervene, and promote a safe environment in your organizations and among your acquaintances and friends.
To those students on our campus who have survived sexual assault, we are committed to supporting you.