Columbia Response to Our Demands

"This current demand for on-campus 24/7 staffing is not a trauma-informed best practice."-Suraiya Baluch [head of SVR] in an email from Suzanne Goldberg.

Today, Suzanne Goldberg and the Columbia administration proved once again that they have no regard for the safety of students on this campus. In an email sent by Suzanne Goldberg, Suraiya Baluch (the interim head of Sexual Violence Response) provided an "analysis" of our demand which claimed that a 24/7 rape crisis center would not be a necessary resource for our campus. This will soon be posted on the Office of University Life website. Here are a few of the ridiculous claims made in the analysis:

1. Our demand for a 24/7 RCC misrepresents the work that SVR does.
(Note: We highly respect the work done by SVR's student and professional advocates and educators. However, we demand that the administration do a better job of providing crucial services for students. SVR does not currently have a physical RCC open 24/7.)

2. SVR's advocates are available 24/7.
(Note: If Goldberg and Baluch had been listening when we met with them in December, they would have heard from students who had to wait over an hour to speak with a trained supporter after first calling the SVR hotline.)

3. Columbia shouldn't have a 24/7 RCC because the "industry standard" is a hotline.
(Note: "Industry standards" aren't more important than survivors' experiences. Columbia has a $9 billion endowment and should have no trouble leading the way in terms of campus trauma response. Additionally, many colleges, including Dartmouth, have physcial buildings where students can get urgent healthcare 24/7.)

4. Survivors do not need a 24/7 RCC because seeking services can be anxiety-producing.
(Note: We are advocating for both a hotline and a physical RCC, so that students can seek help in whichever way feels best for them. Know what's anxiety-producing? Not being able to access direct services when you need them.)

5. Survivors do not need a 24/7 RCC because most survivors disclose to friends first.
(Note; Regardless of who a survivor discloses to first, students still deserve access to trained healthcare and trauma response professionals.)

The SVR "analysis" also includes footnotes that cite 2 papers from national coalitions and government agencies. It is unacceptable that government-produced data matters more to administrators than the testimonies of students who live and study on this campus every day. No Red Tape will continue to organize and escalate until every student has access to the direct services they deserve.