Monday, April 21, 2014

Civic Engagement and Spanish Community Service Learning: An Example

Emily Otnes, speaking at a rally.
Editor's note: I won't claim that Emily stepped up her level of civic engagement and attended a protest because of the two Spanish community service learning courses she took with me. What I will claim is that by giving our students examples of how they can take action in the face of injustice, we provide them with important models. And now I hope Emily's story will be a model for other students who want to move from talking to do-ing. --Ann Abbott

by Emily Otnes

On Thursday, April 17th, I skipped class to do something I’d never done before: go to a protest.

Recently at Butler University, a student Eliza Quincey was a victim of injustice involving the administration’s lack of involvement and delayed action in her rape case. In response to the administration’s incompetent and unhelpful response, Eliza wrote an essay demanding Butler to take action, thereby inspiring her fellow students to stand along with her and give her the voice she deserves.

My friend Lucy and I drove all the way to Indianapolis to get involved. We got up very early and started our car ride, not knowing what to expect. But we did know that the case meant a lot to us as women, as college students, and as a human beings. Rape is something that often becomes ignored and taken very lightly, and the scary statistic of one in four women being victims of sexual assault some time in their college experience is as real as it has ever been.

It was an absolute honor to stand next to so many survivors and supporters. I will never forget the way the megaphone traveled so fluidly through the crowd, each speaker starting with “Hello, my name is Eliza Quincey,” giving the group a sense of togetherness and unity from this symbolic yet very real understanding.

When I took the megaphone, I spoke about the importance of the case to me, and about the resources that every campus deserves in order to provide a safe place for its students. I encouraged Butler to demand a Women’s Resource Center and to keep fighting against the perpetuation of rape culture in our society.

Overall it was an extremely rewarding experience. Here are some photos from the event. I encourage all students to fight for what they believe in, whatever campus and whatever situation. Hopefully the efforts of Butler’s students will lead to justice for all and help to put a stop to rape in our communities.

No comments:

Post a Comment