Trigger Warning: This article includes discussion about rape culture and consent
At this semester’s Plenary, students will only hear one resolution: a proposed amendment to the alcohol policy that will add language about rape culture. The resolution states that perpetrators of sexual violence are accountable for their actions, “including even when they and/or the survivor is inebriated.” The amendment also stresses the importance of bystander support and calls on the community to help combat rape culture. The new amendment draws from both the Haverford College website and the Wavaw Crisis Rape center to define these terms and solidifies the College’s stance on these issues in the context of alcohol use on campus
Currently, the alcohol policy never mentions rape culture nor consent.
“The impetus of this resolution came from a student at last plenary who basically said something to the effect of ‘I would like to see rape culture addressed in the alcohol policy.’ The JSAAPP co-heads, Josiah Legaspi and I, listened and we hope that this measure is at least a step in the right direction,” said Michael Bueno ’18, one of the JSAAPP co-heads.
JSAAPP worked on this resolution in conjunction with Dean Martinez, Dean Denney, the Womxn’s Center, and Kim Benston.
“We wanted to address rape culture within the alcohol policy and how it ties to alcohol specifically,” said Bueno. “We wanted to be careful not to be reductive because we did not want to reduce all of rape culture into instances when people are sexually assaulted or sexual violence is committed under the influence of alcohol.”
Bueno has high hopes that the resolution will pass. While he suspects that, as always, there will be pushback at ratifying the alcohol policy from students who believe the policy is futile, he believes that those opposed to this amendment will be a small minority.
JSAAPP will also be rolling out new party guidelines around spring break to address those students’ concerns about the lack of accountability in the Haverford party scene. As Bueno put it, “Plenary is not the place to actually actualize a lot of change just because there is a lot of bureaucracy that has to happen.”
However, JSAAPP and Bueno make it explicitly clear that this resolution is not supposed to take the place of any discussions about what happens at Haverford.
“We are by no means trying to say that rape does not happen here, that the uncomfort that people feel at parties here isn’t real,” said Bueno. “We are just trying to codify what we believe in as a community, so that when people try to hold you accountable they can point to, among other things, the alcohol policy.”