Important conversations addressing sexual assault

by MSA Executive Board

On Sept. 15, the Minnesota Student Association released a report titled “Guys Don’t Get Consent: How a Big 10 Student Government is Attacking Sexual Assault.” The report was the product of learning efforts conducted in the summer of 2014 and was our first attempt to understand the campus population in regards to campus sexual assault.

We owe many stakeholders an apology. This first learning effort focused on men on campus — a traditionally under-engaged audience in conversations surrounding sexual assault. In an effort to draw attention to the issue and generate student interest, we released a report on what we learned and our next steps. But this first effort focused on a very narrow representation of assault: where a straight, cisgender man assaults a straight, cisgender woman with a focus on party environments.

By publishing a report that focused on such limited representations, we further marginalized many critically important identities and situations that need support and the platform. For this, we offer a sincere apology. Our goals were to fuel conversation and generate interest from students, not to cause harm.

We gladly welcome any and all comments, opinions and suggestions for continued improvement. We understand getting this right will take input from many partners. That’s something we missed this first time, but it won’t happen again.

We have received valid, meaningful feedback — both supportive and critical — from administrators, student groups and individuals across campus. We believe these conversations are necessary, and we are glad they are happening. The Minnesota Daily editorial from Sept. 18 alluded to the fact there is still much work to be done. We couldn’t agree more.