Target: Pensacola Christian College President Dr. Troy A. Shoemaker & Patrick Henry College President Graham Walker
Goal: Adhere to federal law that requires colleges to report and help end sexual violence on campus
The Clery Act is a United States federal law that requires all colleges to adequately compile and disclose reports of sexual crimes that take place on their campuses and make efforts to end these occurrences. Pensacola Christian College and Patrick Henry College, two colleges accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges that have been under suspicion of mishandling cases of sexual violence claim they do not have to follow this law. Both institutions defend this exemption, claiming they are not required to uphold the law because they do not receive federal funding. However, according to a recent interview with the President of the colleges’ accreditation agency, the agency’s accredited institutions must follow all “standards set to federal regulations.”
These two institutions have been scrutinized for victim-blaming in sexual violence reports, where they have allegedly held victims responsible for the crimes that have been committed against them. In a case at Pensacola Christian College, when a victim of rape tried to tell her college counselor about her abuse, she was told she needed to “repent.” In another report from Patrick Henry College, administrators told a victim her abuse could be avoided if she acted and dressed differently.
The after-effects from a traumatic experience like sexual assault can be detrimental to a student’s academic life and mental or emotional health. It is the responsibility of the institution to keep students safe and provide an open environment where they can seek adequate assistance if needed. A recent study shows that many young women do not report sexual violence out of fear of backlash from their peers or to avoid negative labels. It also showed that most young women believe that being harassed, assaulted, and abused is a normal part of life. If this notion is systematically reinforced by turning a blind eye to sexual violence, the issue can never be resolved.
Other institutions accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges have successfully complied with this law while maintaining Christian values. Demand that all college students who are victims of sexual violence get the justice they deserve. By signing this petition you will help urge college officials to comply with federal law that requires colleges to report and help end sexual violence on campus.
Dear Dr. Troy A. Shoemaker & President Graham Walker,
I am writing this letter to express my severe objection to your university’s lack of institutional support for victims of sexual violence. The pressing issue of sexual violence is a sensitive, urgent topic that requires attention from administrators in order to provide protection to victims. Some students at your institutions have experienced victim-blaming when reporting sexual violence and received no help at all.
The after-effects from a traumatic experience like sexual assault can be detrimental to a student’s academic life and mental or emotional health. A crime like rape is a direct violation of a student’s safety. It is the responsibility of your institution to ensure that your students are safe and provide an open environment where they can seek adequate assistance if needed.
Other institutions accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges have successfully complied with the Clery Act while upholding Christian values. Please treat sexual violence reports with the sensitivity and urgency they deserve in order to ensure student well being. I am strongly urging you to comply with the Clery Act and commit to reporting and ending sexual violence on campus.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Brian Stansberry via Wikipedia