Protest to show support for Jane Doe

By now, most students might be aware of the ongoing lawsuit between UNA and Jane Doe, a former student who was allegedly sexually assaulted in 2015 by a former professor.

In response to UNA’s initial statement involving the lawsuit, senior Ashley Massey has organized a peaceful protest to show support for Jane Doe and other rape survivors.

The protest will take place Aug. 24, starting at 6:30 p.m. at Harrison Fountain  before participants march to the Big Deal at 7.

Massey, president of UNA Women’s and Gender Studies Association, said when she initially heard about UNA’s first statement, she felt it went against what she thought the university was about.

“I participate with a lot of events on campus about rape and sexual assault, and I also know what Title IX is doing, so (the initial statement) just kind of seemed to go against all of that,” she said. “I was really disheartened to see them take such an aggressive stance against a rape survivor.”

The initial statement led Massey to post about it on Facebook, which gained attention. This resulted in her creating an event page. Since then, several students and organizations have signed on to the protest’s mission statement.

The event is happening not only to make people aware of UNA’s handling of the incident, but also to encourage rape survivors to come forward with their stories, offer them support and have the university apologize for the statement, according to the statement.

Junior Anna Grace Kiddy said UNA College Democrats, of which she is president, also became involved in the protest after the release of the first statement.

“We want everyone to feel safe at this beautiful campus, and the official statement hinders that,” she said. “Instead of showing any sort of remorse, UNA’s official statement verbally attacked Jane Doe in a way that might hinder other victims of sexual assault to come forward to UNA staff for fear of backlash in an already vulnerable situation.”

Sophomore Quintin Stewart said he believes the protest is a good event to have as it gives the participating students a way to stand up for their feelings about the alleged rape.

“I think it’s a good idea to express their opinions and feelings toward it,” he said. “It’s peaceful, so it probably won’t be offensive to many people.”

Participants of the protest have been handing out fliers with UNA’s initial statement printed on them and buttons to students on campus.

Emily Kelley, coordinator for the Center for Women’s Studies, said she supports the right for students to protest peacefully but also suggests for them to have some faith in UNA’s system.

“We have an excellent Title IX coordinator in Tammy Jacques, who I believe is an individual of great integrity,” she said.

Massey said despite her feelings toward UNA’s actions, she still supports her university.

“I’ve had everything I needed to succeed at UNA,” she said. “(I) know that UNA can be better.”