Let's End Campus Sexual Assault

In the month of October, five instances of sexual assault or harassment were filed by women at the University of Colorado at Boulder. This is five too many.

Although mainstream media and the CU Police Department released reports on each incident, there has been little comment on the trend as a whole. However, concerned students have stepped in to emphasize and spread awareness about the alarming amount of incidents that occurred in a short period of time. Listed below is a timeline of the incidents that occurred in the 15 day period. Unfortunately, the act of being “roofied” is fairly common on college campuses. In 2016, it was reported that 1 in 13 college students from three major universities (the University of South Carolina, University of Kentucky and University of Cincinnati) have been drugged or suspect they have been drugged. However, in combination with the four other events, many saw the October 18th incident as the final straw. Something needed to be done to stop this pattern of events.

(Photo Credit Twitter and Reddit)

Although only five girls have come forward saying they were drugged, many sources across Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter claim that this incident is much bigger than the girls who stepped forward. According to these sources, 21 girls were drugged at a Sig Pi after drinking wine from wine bags laced with Xanax.

The investigation of this incident is under the jurisdiction of the Boulder Police Department because it happened off campus. This is why students did not receive a safety alert from the CU Police Department; however, CU Boulder Today did release a recap of the police’s news release that day.

This is an ongoing case. On Tuesday, three more girls came forward and shared similar stories to the two girls who were hospitalized last weekend. At this time, the police are unable to trace the drugs to a specific party due to the girls attending multiple parties. Additionally, they are in the process of obtaining warrants that will allow them to conduct drug tests, but results could take up to six weeks.

This incident prompted one woman to take to the streets in protest. The woman chose to stay anonymous by covering her face and promoted the message #believewomen. Additionally, a Facebook post written by student Leilani Osmundson, a junior at CU, gained a significant amount of publicity for highlighting and making a stand against the five reported sexual assault cases. The post continues to gain attention and currently has 1.5K likes, 1038 shares and 125 comments.  

                       (an excerpt from Leilani Osmundson’s Facebook post)

I had the opportunity to interview Leilani about her viral post. Leilani was inspired by Dr. Ford’s testimony against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to make a stand.

However, she argues “The incidents I pointed out in my post were just the ones that went public. So many remain behind closed doors, with victims (women and men both) too scared, humiliated, or ashamed to come out. And why shouldn’t they be, when they see how the public responded to Dr. Ford?”

The harsh reality is that sexual assault on college campuses is not a new concern, and the issue is only resurfacing. CU conducted a survey in 2015 that concluded that 28% of women and 6% of men reported being sexual assaulted while being in college. In situations like this, social media allows for the voice of students to be heard. Without the bravery of women and men coming forward, this information may have been overlooked.

If you or someone you know has any information that could help with this investigation, you can call Boulder police Detective Sgt. Barry Hartkopp at 303-441-3473. If you wish to remain anonymous you can contact the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or nocrimestoppers.com. Additionally, if you are a victim of sexual assault or harassment, CU has a lot of resources that can help you in the Women’s Resource Center or through the Office of Victim’s Assistance.