The Editorial Board
On Tuesday, we reported that three University of North Texas students and one other person were implicated for the “promotion of prostitution and drug possession.” Last Tuesday, we reported that two in every three freshmen fail to take the university’s “mandatory” sexual assault prevention course, in which the only students facing consequences from a lack of completion are Greek life members. Even more alarming was last summer’s report of publicized sexual trafficking straight out of our campus – Kerr Hall to be exact.
Glancing at these stories alone, it’s clear to assume that more sexual assault victims need to report their situations more often. However, many rape situations aren’t always cut-and-dry. For instance, former men’s basketball player Rickey Brice Jr. has only been arrested for an April marijuana possession thus far – almost a month before Tuesday’s news break. Yesterday, former men’s basketball manager Brian Emmerson Johnson was arrested on similar charges.
It doesn’t help that UNT has a peculiar relationship with sexual assault education. According to previous reports, only 56 percent of surveyed students remember taking Haven, the university’s prevention course. Although this accounts for majority of the 291 students who were surveyed, Grant Hale, UNT Student Government Association president, is one of many who would like “to see the numbers be higher.”
Then there is the case of a former UNT female student, whose pornographic Tumblr account led into the arrest of Joshua Jackson. According to the former student, Jackson “used ‘force, fraud and coercion’” to traffick her, including tasers and financial bribery.
In Brice and the former student’s situations, a combination of lies and mystery impeded any progress of sexual assaults to be known immediately to the public. Therefore, it falls on the administration and authorities behind the Mean Green to make sure upcoming students have more sexual assault awareness. And it all begins with our education.
Last year, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network found that “one out of every six American women” has either been raped or had a rape attempted on them. Thirty-five percent of women, almost a third of the planet, have had these experiences around the world – according to the World Health Organization in 2013. So it should be imperative for all UNT students, not just frat brothers, to take Haven every semester and be reprimanded for not completing it.
If students are required to take basics before enrolling in advanced classes, they should also be required to take sociology or psychology courses geared towards sexual education. RAINN found that 11.2 percent of all U.S. college students have experienced “rape or sexual assault.” Since 44.7 percent of respondents declared unsafe feelings about our own campus last semester, our administrators need to implement more courses for the education of sexual nature – whether consensual or malicious.
Now this isn’t to say UNT hasn’t taken previous actions to foster such awareness. Every April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which organizations and administrators have made a point to honor in the past. According to officials, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton awarded a $50,000 grant to UNT for the aid of sexual assault survivors in 2015. The Teal Ribbon Campaign was created in 2014 to publicize available resources such as the UNT Police Department and the Dean of Students Office – even though the campaign didn’t happen until April 30, the last day of the month.
While UNT is certainly no Baylor, we still have a lot of progress to make if students have hands in any sexually aggressive behavior. Taking advantage of another human being’s body is looked upon differently in every institution and workplace, which creates different approaches to how people look at sexual assault in general. So if UNT makes its views more apparent in the classroom, we could potentially avoid sexual assault reporting days after Sexual Assault Awareness Month ends.
Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins