Many students were doubtful when Pomona College announced that the college would pilot Callisto, a new sexual assault reporting system, in an effort to make its campus safer. Would a website dismantle the gravity of sexual violence and rape culture? Now that the site is up and running, providing a safe way for survivors to report assault seems like a step in the right direction despite the general skepticism. Granted, the fact that the college is creating more avenues and resources is certainly better than nothing. But is it enough?
Though the 5Cs are separate institutions, they share Campus Safety, certain educational resources, and health services. Most importantly, the colleges maintain a shared social scene, growing more and more integrated as time goes on. The colleges may wish to remain independent from each other in some respects, but in implementing programs, especially ones that concern sexual assault, this severance is shortsighted. Rape culture is embedded in party culture, and the colleges party together. Any attempt to address sexual assault in Claremont must involve all five colleges.
While it makes sense for schools like the University of San Francisco, the other school that is piloting Callisto, to test the program’s effectiveness, enacting it at Pomona College without the rest of the consortium is inadequate. Given that Pomona students’ social networks extend well beyond the Pomona student body, it’s disappointing that the program isn’t being used at all the schools. If it were, this reporting system would be able to better serve survivors who might experience sexual assault at any campus by a student from any 5C school. While being on the vanguard of combating sexual violence is a noble pursuit, the Claremont consortium is unlike any other in the country, and the technology perhaps would have been better tested at another college.
As it stands, Callisto is a novel, if untested, way to enable survivors to record their testimonies. Rape can’t be solved with a new technology. But none of this is to detract from the good that Callisto could do—if it gives people the courage to safely come forward with their stories, which is its stated goal, then we support it. Hopefully, if the Pomona pilot program is successful, the other colleges will become involved in Callisto so we can truly see if it will work here in Claremont.