Pitzer Founds Advocates Group

The Pitzer College Advocates Against Sexual
Assault held its first meeting March 13. Modeled after similar groups at Scripps College and Pomona College, the organization aims to
support survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment within the Pitzer community.

According to community organizer KC Chaviano PZ ’16,
many Pitzer students have expressed the desire to create a survivor support
system that focuses on serving the
Pitzer community.  

“Advocates is a way for the
school itself to start supporting survivors, and I don’t think it’s enough to
say, ‘Oh, you can use resources from other places,’” Chaviano said. “What it should be about is
that your friends are supporting you. The people around you and in your
specific community are holding the community responsible for taking care of
each other.”

Group members have reached out to the administration for funding and long-term support, and are currently working with the Office of Student Affairs to revamp the orientation training around sexual assault for next year. The group aims to offer support services including a “warm line”—which is a non-crisis line, as opposed to a hotline—that will be available for survivors of sexual assault to call.   

Roz Naimi PZ ’17, a member of the Pitzer Advocates, said she feels that the group will help make the Pitzer community safer and stronger. 

“You have access to so much
more because you have five campuses, but I feel like what makes Pitzer Pitzer is the small and supposedly tight-knit community that it supposed to be a safe
space,” Naimi said. “I think having our own advocates group would keep that Pitzer virtue.”

Chaviano said that they feels that it
is also important for each campus to have its own support system because each
school has unique regulations regarding sexual assault and harassment, so each Advocates group must function differently. However, Chaviano
said that they hopes to one day see a “5C Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault.”

Naimi noted that along with the policy variations across the 5Cs, each school has a different social climate.

“Students would be more likely
to go to Pitzer Advocates than a 5C one because it’s more intimate, I feel, if
it’s just people within the community,” she said. “Also, perhaps it would be easier to
relate to people who go to the same college because even though we’re all
across the street from each other, each campus has its own culture in a way.”

Chaviano said that the Pitzer
Advocates group is interested in collaborating with Pitzer’s Feminist Coalition as
well as the Disability, Illness, and Difference Alliance. Pitzer Advocates plans to help students organize events and services geared toward preventing sexual assault and harassment, such as Take Back the Night
and bystander intervention training.

“I want to make it a space for survivors where they can feel comfortable and … safe,” Chaviano said. “It’s something everyone should feel is a responsibility for themselves and making the college campus safer.”

Pitzer Advocates meets Thursdays at 6 p.m. in the Womyn’s Center at the
Grove House.

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