Kerry Ferrell is an Emerson College class of 2020 graduate.
I wholeheartedly reject the idea of an “Us versus Them” mentality at Emerson in regards to the handling of sexual assault on campus. Rather, I see it as “Those Compassionately Aligned With the Victims versus Those Standing in the Way of Healing.” Do you know what I call a sexual assailant with a dog? A sexual assailant. How about an administrator, who loves Ozark (just like me!), passively standing in the way of any substantive change? I call them complicit.
Many of my friends and acquaintances from Emerson have been the victim of some form of sexual misconduct. You needn’t look far to find someone on campus who has suffered greatly. Now, let me say that I do not stand on their side simply because they are my friends; I do so because it is morally correct. An institution that protects assailants, be it a college, an on-campus organization, or a film set, must be challenged. A challenge is not simply a roundtable discussion with those who have made our peers, our friends, our idols, feel like they are nothing.
Sure, work must be brought to the administrative level to bring any true change, such is the nature of an institution. However, I reject the notion that students are disengaged and inherently distrustful of the administration, specifically those who have filed Title IX reports. They have been given a very clear reason for their distrust: they see that, at an extremely difficult, painful time, this college does not have their best interest in mind.
I applaud every single student activist group on campus that diligently works for change. There are so many beautiful, creative, outstanding people at this school. Every single one of them deserves better. This fight doesn’t end now, or in the fall, or when you leave. This fight ends when every member of the Emerson community feels the respect they were promised when they bought into this institution.
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