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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Feminist Club’s mission to convince administration to hire a sexual assault counselor

City College Feminist Club member Emily Zavala-Aguilar helps Lorrelle Greene, social science major, fill out a survey for the club during City College’s Club Day Sept. 24. Elizabeth Ramirez| Multimedia editor|
City College Feminist Club member Emily Zavala-Aguilar helps Lorrelle Greene, social science major, fill out a survey for the club during City College’s Club Day Sept. 24. Elizabeth Ramirez| Multimedia editor| [email protected]

Update (Nov. 12, 2015 at 4:08 p.m.): This story has been updated to reflect that Amelia Tauber said the club has 196 signatures, and not Taylor Buck as previously reported.

Update (Nov. 12, 2015 at 2 p.m.): This story has been update to reflect that Counseling and Student Success Center Interim Dean Richard Yang mentioned the counseling ratio on campus, and not Amelia Tauber as previously reported.

City College’s Feminist Club has come and gone in different incarnations over the last 10 years, but the current club president said the group’s most recent return brings with it a new mission and determination.

The club is currently gathering signatures for a petition to bring a trauma counselor to campus who specializes not only in matters of sexual assault and harassment but also other serious issues.

Feminist Club President and political science major Taylor Buck said that such a counselor would not be just an important resource — it’s what the students want.

“[We’ve been] trying to determine [how] people on campus feel about safety,” Buck said. “[After] conducting informal surveys, we’ve essentially determined that the campus safety, sexual harassment [and] sexual assault is our main focus.”

Buck said that there are about 15,000 full-time students on campus, and obtaining 1,000 signatures would show the necessity for a trauma counselor.

“We talked about it as a group,” said Professor Sherri Patton, Feminist Club adviser. “What is the issue? What could we do? We did settle on that getting a counselor be one of the really good goals for the group to work on.”

As of Nov. 2, the club has 196 signatures, Feminist Club Treasurer Amelia Tauber said.

The club was inspired to reach out to students after Tauber, a social science and field ecology major, brought the need for a counselor to the attention of the club, Buck added.

“Our treasurer, Amelia Tauber, took it upon herself to begin the petition process for hiring, or designating a counselor on campus,” said Buck. “[This counselor] would be specifically for crisis and emotional support.”

Tauber said she joined the Feminist Club during the 2015 spring semester.

“I was actually standing outside of Rodda Hall South talking about a sexual assault that I’d heard happening on campus and not being handled properly, and I was talking fairly loudly to my friend about it, and it just so happened that’s when the Feminist Club’s [meeting] was ending and Adam [a member of the club] overheard me talking about it,” Tauber said.

“[He] said, ‘Sounds like you’re interested in the same stuff. Would you like to join the Feminist Club?’”
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Tauber added that before that moment, she didn’t know the college had a feminist club on campus.

The Feminist Club was previously known as Women’s Alliance but rebooted in 2013 with a new name and a new team of roughly three to five students. This semester the club has nearly tripled in size, according to Buck.

Tauber had just started a petition to bring a sexual assault and harassment counselor to the campus when she became a member of the Feminist Club.

The petition, which addresses the administration, was adopted as part of the club’s mission at the start of the 2015 fall semester and reads, in part, “Sacramento City College must employ an on-campus sexual violence counselor and advocate who has been trained to work with survivors of sexual assault.”

Tauber said she was inspired to create the petition after doing a report on the “Yes Means Yes Law.”

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the student safety sexual assault bill into law in September 2014, also known as the “Yes Means Yes Law,” which requires both parties to agree on the sexual activity about to take place.

When Tauber was done with her report, she said she was assigned to do a persuasive presentation for public speaking.

“After reading about our campus statistics, it look[ed] [like] we had an underreporting issue,”  Tauber said. “[It’s] very common that almost all campuses see some kind of underreporting in varying degrees, and I think the best way to combat underreporting is to have somebody students trust on campus, which is where an advocate comes in.”

Tauber said she would like to see a sexual assault and harassment counselor on campus not only to promote students’ trust, but to alleviate some of the counselors’ workloads.

According to Counseling and Student Success Center Interim Dean Richard Yang, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office reported that City College has the highest counselor load in the state, with a ratio of 900 students to one counselor.

After the Sept. 3 on-campus shooting, City College put academic counselors in place to provide trauma counseling to students. The counselor the Feminist Club is hoping to provide would be more suited to assisting with trauma, Tauber said.

Both Buck and Tauber said they have talked to campus administrators in hopes of turning their wishes for the campus into reality.

“As far as action, we’re determining what we’re going to do,” Buck said. “Our main goal is campus safety.”

Students interested in signing the petition can drop by during the club’s meeting Tuesdays from noon to 1 p.m. in Rodda South 269.

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