We must keep addressing sexual assault, even after current spotlight fades

Expelling Gophers only marks the start of being addressing sexual violence issues on campus.

Taylor Sharp

In the last week, four Gophers football players accused of sexual misconduct in an alleged September assault have been expelled by a three-person University of Minnesota panel. Two players received one-year suspensions from the panel. It’s an encouraging start but only the beginning of real change.

It might be judgmental, but I sense a troubling sense of indifference about this in the air around campus. And yes, the expulsions and sexual assault prevention training are encouraging, but I fear that this current wave of changes in our administration’s response to campus sexual assault is about to crest.

Many of my peers still put their focus on the importance of school spirit and have deluded themselves by not paying attention to the harsh, monstrous realities of some Minnesota athletes’ off-the-field misconduct.

The accusations of these players may have been addressed on the surface-level by the administration, but the scars of this ordeal will endure. This latest incident, one of many scandals that have plagued the University’s athletics department, reveal the great importance of having open campus conversations about how we address sexual violence — both in terms of prevention and how to best and appropriately deal with its aftermath.

We cannot forget what happened in September, nor can we be ignorant to the fact that these cases continue to happen and are often swept under the rug or obscured. We must continue to champion sexual assault prevention, not just when it’s in the spotlight.