Taking Back the Night

Meg Savin

Originally scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, April 20, Colgate’s “Take Back the Night” events have been rescheduled for next spring.

The event, held annually at Colgate and across the globe, is an opportunity to raise awareness of sexual violence against women. Students have the chance to speak out in a supportive environment about their own experiences with sexual violence, or on behalf of others they know.

The tradition of “Take Back the Night” began in Germany in 1973, where the first events were held to protest sexual assault against women. The first rally in the United States was held five years later in San Francisco.

Colgate has participated in various ways over the years, marching from the O’Connor Campus Center (Coop) down the hill to the Student Union, as well as holding a speak-out in the Hall of Presidents or, more recently, in the Clark Room.

There have been quite a few questions surrounding the decision to cancel the event. The cancellation took place not because of lack of interest or concern but rather because of logistics.

“Finding space was a big problem, especially with the library situation,” Women’s Studies Program Assistant Tamara Serrano said. “We had trouble finding a time to reserve the Clark Room and the Hall of Presidents. We thought about moving it to ALANA, but thought it would be difficult to keep the discussion confidential there.”

Serrano explained that the event was also competing with many other events on campus, such as the Greek Forum on Wednesday evening.

“It is a really tough time of year with so much else going on,” she said. “We thought about trying to change the date, but it is too late at this point.” Assistant Director of Counseling and Psychological Services and advisor for the Sexual Consultation Resource Center (SCRC) Dawn LaFrance explained that the event was cancelled not because students and administrators do not see it as important, but because they see it as too rushed at this point. If the school is going to go through with the event, they want it to be well-planned and well-attended.

“We don’t want this to be half-heartedly pulled off,” LaFrance said. “When we do it, we want to do it well. We weren’t able to get the word out ahead of time, putting up posters or maybe writing an article in The Maroon-News. This part of the planning is really important because it raises awareness and reaches people who don’t go to the speak-out.”

Both Serrano and LaFrance expressed concern to get planning off to a good start for next year. SCRC, Men Advocating Change (MAC), Rainbow and Advocates and the Women’s Studies Department have all been involved in coordinating the event in the past.

“We’d like to even start planning in the fall for the event in the spring,” LaFrance said.

Students that are interested in being involved in planning for next year’s “Take Back the Night” event should contact either Serrano at [email protected] or LaFrance at [email protected]