Paul Smith’s student walkout takes aim at sexual harassment on campus

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 4:10 PM EDT
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PAUL SMITHS, N.Y. (WCAX) - Paul Smith’s College students held a walkout Thursday, saying the college needs to take action to prevent sexual harassment and violence on campus.

The emotions on the Paul Smith’s campus Thursday matched the weather -- cold and uncomfortable. “As a targeted group on campus and as a students who has been here for some time, I would like to share my story,” said Gabe, one of a group of students calling for change. One after the other, they stood up to tell their own experiences of sexual harassment, gender bias, and racism they’ve experienced on campus.

“You see our vulnerability and disregarding it for your own comfort,” said Orion miller, a senior.

The speakers told said they don’t feel safe on school grounds and that they’re voices are not being heard by the college. “Nothing happens and nothing is going to happen. That’s why we are here today,” said one speaker.

“I would love to know what your qualifications are, what’s your understanding of the laws are and I would love to know if you truly think you can do your job and protect the people you’re supposed to protect,” said Nick.

Organizers are asking the administration to take Title lX more seriously, undergo more training, and live by the school’s mission to be inclusive and diverse. “We have the power in this situation, it is our money that fuels the institution,” Orion said. “This is just the beginning, this isn’t the end of it at all.”

Two-and-a-half hours of stories all with striking similarities. “Nothing was done about it, not one thing. It was shoved under the carpet,” said one student.

School officials say they’ve heard the students loud and clear. “It’s not unique to us. It’s a problem in our society, but this is our little micro-society and we need to make it better,” said the college’s Nicholas Hunt-Bull.

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