College. We know: you’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt (or sweatshirt, or water bottle, or–let’s be real–the debt) to prove it.
Even long after graduating, alumni have a huge part to play in challenging the culture of sexual violence at their alma maters. We often come across alumni who want to know how they can leverage their power and influence with the college administration to support the efforts of student activists and make it clear that there is no place for sexual assault in any form at their schools.
You can still do something to challenge the culture of violence at your school, even if you’re a few months, years, or even decades out of college. In fact, you can probably do more now than you ever could before. How? We’ve got you covered.
We took to Twitter to ask for concrete actions alumni can take to ensure their alma maters are safer, more gender equitable spaces for future students.
1. Knowledge is power. Use resources like alumni magazines to highlight student activism, raise awareness and rally support.
2. Know where your money is going. Money talks. According to the Council for Aid to Education, alumni donated a total of $9.86 billion in 2014. Withhold donations or earmark them for specific projects.
3. Ask difficult questions. Let the administration know that you’re paying attention to their policies. Create spaces where you can share this information, or ask others to join you in taking action.
4. Strength in numbers. It might sound obvious, but anyone who has ever graduated from your college is an alumnus. That’s A LOT of people, and a whole lot of collective power.
5. Stay engaged. Through creating an active and engaged alumni community, you’re more likely to find others who take this issue as seriously as you do, or who might if they knew more about it.
6. Consider your legacy. Sometimes, alumni are actually part of the problem. Certain students are seen as more valuable to the school (members of Greek life, or athletes) because they tend to donate more money to the school as alumni. This in turn creates a culture of impunity and cover ups within these institutions, because they prioritize future donations over student safety. Challenge that culture. All students deserve to feel safe and respected on campus.
7. Raise money for survivor services.
8. Advocate for prevention programming and policy change. Does it make you uncomfortable that your school is using money to fight lawsuits from survivors who were failed by the institution, instead of spending it on sexual assault prevention?
9. Raise the profile of student activists. Keeping lines of communication open with current students and supporting their activities has a big impact! Create a positive and student-supportive alumni culture that will encourage new graduates to get involved too.
10. Start somewhere. Think of one concrete action you can take: whether it’s making a phone call to the alumni association to ask what they’re doing around the issue of sexual violence, asking the university what the official policies are, challenging the culture of impunity around sexual assault, or pushing for accountability. Reconnect with your fellow alumni and let us know what you learn.
A4: Reaching out to my alum association this week! Thanks for the inspiration, all 🙂 #chatbreak— Nina M. Flores, PhD (@bellhookedme) September 10, 2015