by Sammi Bray ’25
Over the past two years, Trinity, almost in accordance with the 50th anniversary of Title IX , has revamped its reporting system. A new, fiery coordinator has been hired and working on campus since the fall semester, engaging with students in a variety of trainings and one-on-one meetings. The hiring of a new coordinator came with the promise of reexamining old cases and a larger commitment to an equitable college experience. Measuring such a feat is difficult, but Shannon Lynch’s data—our new coordinator—has shown that more and more students are utilizing tools provided by the College to report incidents, with more reports being submitted than before. While this sounds concerning, it is a reflection that less things are going unreported and more students are aware or their options.
In some regards, we have taken a turn for the better; on the other hand, this spike in reports may just be a sign that more women are taking control and advocating for themselves. While not a bad thing, in an ideal Trinity campus, women would not have to be on guard. Additionally, one would hope that it was not just victims responding to the presentations Lynch is giving—which are typically a part of the beginning of athletic seasons, Greek Life recruitment, and student employee training—but to those who are perpetrating such acts. It is great that we are “calling then out,” but would it not be even better if they simply stopped? A harder solution to grasp for some but certainly not for most women.
Further, how many incidents still go unreported? It is not uncommon to hear female students expressing the fact that they are afraid to report an incident or are untrusting of the resources the school provides. Another complicated issue to solve. Is this a problem of lack of education on the topic? Most people should be going through Title IX training, but what about those who do not work on campus nor participate in Greek Life and athletics? This must be a rather large population that seemingly slips through the cracks. For those who do know what to do, is there some sort of misunderstanding we all share about what reporting an incident means? Or perhaps, the most unfortunate option, we share a very good reason to be uncomfortable coming forward. Many cases seem to be unsolvable because of the laws in place or systems at Trinity and many of these processes, if they do become legitimate, can be a long, emotionally taxing process. Our peers who have gone through it warn us that is difficult and we take a cone of silence, feeling that it is a better option. There is no one we can really point our finger at, only the systems in place that long predate all of us.
It is not only the systems but the societal structures in which we exist. Those inflicting some sort of verbal or physical violence tend to be protected by a group of their peers or even the rumor of “they said this and they said that,” leading to some individuals believing that the guilty is in fact innocent. Groupthink is a terrible issue, as the college rumor mill fuels such situations and potentially makes them even more dangerous. Undeniably money plays a large role in this problem, where on certain college campuses and beyond, a wealthy enough individual can disappear their accusations.
I cannot claim to know all the solutions—I can hardly know all of the problems and their sources—but it is a fundamental truth that we have a serious problem on our campus with violence against women. As students, we must stick together and protect one another, especially if no one else can.
Leave a Reply