More than a dozen people addressed the audience, which overflowed the forum's available seating.
The activism stems from recent reports of a KU student who said she was raped in 2013 and whose assailant was given what the victim called a lenient punishment.
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On Tuesday, Branson’s office announced there were “no updates we can provide at this time.” The petition presses for KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little’s administration to investigate KU’s offices of Institutional Opportunity & Access and Student Affairs, or IOA, which handles allegations of sexual assault.
It also demands mandatory sexual-assault training for all KU students and elimination of the term “non-consensual sex” in investigations. Speakers at Tuesday night's forum blasted the university's current educational approach to sexual-assault awareness, saying it lacked rigor, sincerity and enforcement of participation.
"Clearly, this education is not enough," said student Hobbes Entrikin.
Photo by Nick Krug Lawrence resident Lisa Roberts, center, cries as she listens to an account of rape from a victim during a forum on sexual assault Tuesday at the Ecumenical Campus Ministries building.
Students, community members and university faculty attended and listened as several people voiced their frustrations with what they called the university's mishandling of reported sexual assaults.
Frustration with the culture surrounding sexual violence and how it is investigated at Kansas University reached an even more vocal level Tuesday, with 200-plus people gathering at a public forum and a student group decrying the school as unsafe.
The day began with a video posted by student group the September Siblings that warned would-be KU enrollees against attending the school, saying it isn’t safe.
The video included audio of anonymous victims describing their experiences with rape and failed investigations in its aftermath.
The September Siblings is also petitioning for an overhaul of the way the university investigates allegations of sexual assault.
“KU is not a safe place for students, and no high school seniors should enroll here until it is,” said the group, which has about 50 members.
Tuesday evening, more than 200 people packed into Ecumenical Christian Ministries, located just off campus, to speak out against sexual violence and the growing controversy at KU.