A crowd of students chanted, “‘No’ means NO! ‘No’ means NO!” outside a dorm at Howard University where a woman said she was raped by another student.
When she made the allegations on social media, upset by what she said was a lack of concern from university officials, students quickly turned it into a broader protest about safety for women on campus.
Their social media campaign — #takebackthenightHU — was trending on Twitter in Washington, as protesters gathered outside the dorm, sitting in the grass and filling part of Georgia Avenue.
A spokesman for Howard, one of the country’s most well-known and well-regarded historically black universities, issued a written statement Tuesday afternoon.
Statement Concerning Title IX Violation
Washington, D.C., (March 22, 2016)- Recent tweets have been posted regarding the alleged sexual assault of a Howard University student by another Howard student. The University administration took immediate action as soon as we learned of this matter. While we are not able to discuss the specifics of any ongoing investigation, we are and have been actively investigating all reports that have been made to us. These cases cannot be adjudicated through social media without compromising the integrity of the investigation.
Howard University takes matters of sexual assault very seriously. As part of our commitment to a safe campus environment, we continue to refine and enhance our Title IX protocols and procedures consistent with best practices and federal regulations. This is further supported with ongoing prevention education, collaboration, training and campus engagement.
The statement, and an email sent to the campus community, ended with contact information for students in need of confidential university resources or support.
While the allegations the student made quickly got shared and rumors spread on social media Tuesday, one student, Tori Elder, said the problem is bigger than one case; students know of other allegations of rape on campus. “I want to seek justice for everyone. We have to put a stop to it. I don’t feel comfortable anymore.”