BREAKING: Students Protest Sexual Assault Allegations for Second Day in a Row in Damen Student Center

Content warning: Sexual assault, rape, vulgar language

Students protested Loyola’s sexual assault allegations for the second day in a row on Nov. 4 by sitting on the floor of the Damen Student Center lobby. The protest was held one day after the group was asked to leave the building for conducting a “sit-in” during the inaugural reception of President Mark C. Reed, The Phoenix previously reported.

Before students entered the building, William Rodriguez, the dean of students and assistant vice president of student life and engagement, and his colleague Julie Penn, assistant dean of students and the Coordinated Assistance and Resource Education (CARE) case manager, spoke to the crowd. They informed the students of resources available about the topic of sexual assault within Damen. 

CARE is an organization on campus which helps students connect with resources to help them achieve academically, according to Loyola’s website.

“We did have some really good conversations with a number of students who were participating yesterday,” Rodriguez said to the crowd of demonstrators Nov. 4. 

Students participating in the demonstration entered Damen around 4:15 p.m. and left at 6 p.m., after completing a “sit-in.” 

The demonstration was planned by an anonymous social media account which aims to expose students and staff accused of sexual assault. 

A post made by the social media account on Nov. 3 made a variety of demands of the university prior to the Nov. 4 protest. This included demanding the termination or expulsion of three named students and staff who have been accused of sexual assault on the account. 

They also demanded Tim Love, the executive director of the Office of Equity and Compliance (OEC) and the Title IX coordinator, be fired for what the students involved in the protest believe was a lack of action in sexual assault allegations. 

Love did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nicky Andrews | The Phoenix Students circled on the Damen Student Center floor, disrupting passersby.

Sam Maher Sheahan, the associate dean of students, deputy Title IX coordinator and student equity case manager said student who have questions about policies relating to sexual assault on campus should reach out to the Office of the Dean of Students or the OEC.

Sheahan also said resources are available for anyone struggling with gender-based violence, whether they experienced it while on campus or not. 

“If students have experienced any gender-based violence before they were a student, while they were a student here on campus or by someone on our campus, or if they experience any gender based violence while they are a student that maybe happened at another campus or someplace off campus, they can file a report with the university,” Sheahan said.

Sheahan said once a report has been filed, the student will receive an outreach letter from the Office of the Dean of Students or the OEC offering to meet and be given any support they need. 

The account also demanded an explanation from the university on how they will change their sexual assault report procedures and an apology from Rodriguez for not allowing the group to enter the student center during the previous demonstration on Nov. 3.

Kate Bacon, a first-year nursing major, said she believes the university should do more to address allegations of sexual assault. 

“Getting raped and getting assaulted should not be a part of the college experience,” Bacon said. “I think they are perpetuating the ability for people to do that by saying nothing and being silent about it.”

Bacon said she agrees with the demands detailed by the social media account responsible for planning the protests. 

Representatives from the OEC, The Line and the Office of the Dean of Students sat in the lobby of Damen as well as The Den in the student center and said they were there for students who wanted to talk or had questions. 

Austin Hojdar | The Phoenix Sophomore Ayesha Chaudhry led the students in protest.

Jill Santos, the deputy Title IX coordinator and equity investigator, said students who experience sexual assault or would like to learn more about the university’s policies surrounding the issue should visit the OEC website

Mira Krivoshey, the associate director of health promotion at the Wellness Center, said students should call The Line at 773-494-3810 if they wish to speak anonymously with someone trained in gender based violence response about sexual assault.

Ayesha Chaudhry, a sophomore who said she didn’t help plan the demonstration but was leading the protest, said she does not believe the resources the university provides to students are as helpful to students as the university says they are. 

The group of protesters remained primarily quiet while sitting in the Damen lobby but occasionally would discuss the allegations with each other, or chant “Fuck Loyola,” among other phrases which specifically called out the names of those accused of sexual assault.

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