The ASUC Sexual Violence Commission, or SVC, set plans to introduce a fall consent campaign and rape kits to the Tang Center, all in an effort to widen the campus sexual misconduct conversation, at its regular meeting Thursday.
The commission’s Director of Communications and campus junior Corinne Biencourt will head the introduction of a monthly SVC newsletter to give passionate members a platform to speak on issues ranging from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ proposed changes to Title IX laws to recent campus sexual misconduct.
“If someone is passionate, they can totally address incidents of sexual misconduct on campus,” Biencourt said. “But generally, the things we’re trying to push forward and highlight are not specific allegations and events that have been already previously spoken upon by campus voices.”
In a broader effort to improve campus culture, the SVC will hold an upcoming campaign focused on consent in the absence of sobriety. The dates for this campaign have yet to be determined, but the SVC has decided to hold a spring sexual violence symposium in April, during sexual violence awareness month.
“There are so many organizations outside of Berkeley’s campus who offer resources, and if we could bring in these groups who have this expertise, that would be incredible,” assistant chair Erika Casey said. “(We want to) elevate voices that have not previously been heard but need so desperately to be part of the conversation.”
Several members of the SVC said they hope these projects will make the SVC more visible to community members, especially those who are marginalized. Student advocate designee and the SVC’s former chair Jon-Luc Dargenton said he is excited for the commission’s long-term work to better serve survivors.
The SVC is currently working toward the implementation of sexual assault evidence kits at the Tang Center. Dargenton said this will likely be a longer-term project, as their introduction needs approval from Alameda County and the SVC wants the Tang Center to hire a medical examiner.
“It’s definitely a cool process to be part of investigating,” Dargenton said. “I’m excited to see what they come up with, what roadblocks they encounter and how we can get around those roadblocks.”
Commission chair Ezra Alanis said she was excited about the high number of commission member applications they received, which he said “bolstered confidence” for the commission. Last fall, SVC started late because the commission lacked a chair until two months into the school year.
“We have enough people to call quorum,” Alanis said at the start of the meeting. “That’s amazing.”
Casey said he thinks the group’s activism is important in light of national and local events concerning sexual misconduct.
“It’s our responsibility to push these things forward and to have these difficult conversations,” Casey said. “People have been avoiding it for so long, so I’m just excited we have a group who wants to talk about these things.”