By Lisa Woolfson 

If you were on the McKeldin Mall yesterday afternoon, you probably heard the secretary of Preventing Sexual Assault (PSA), yell “Say it once, say it again, no excuse for violent men!” into a megaphone.

PSA is a club that was started 2 years ago to tackle the issues of sexual assault and rape culture on campus. PSA works with students and the administration.

On Friday, PSA held a “Slut Walk,” where people wore clothes considered “slutty” and marched across campus chanting “Consent is sexy, rape is not” and other phrases to raise awareness about the issue of sexual assault on campus.

Nikki Wolfrey, the vice president of PSA said ““It [the Slut Walk] really is just here to show light that no matter what you’re wearing, drinking, or doing in no way can you ever be asking to be sexually assaulted and it never gives anyone a right to sexually assault you”

Michael J Smith, who runs social media for PSA said, “The culture at University of Maryland specifically is seen as being very progressive and very good but sexual assault is actually a really big issue on our campus”

Although PSA’s messages were certainly targeted at students of UMD, that wasn’t the only group they had issues with.

Cristina Johnson, the president of PSA was not happy with the administration’s treatment of Title IX. “We’ve tried to build good relationships, but obviously in our opinion at least, Loh has completely de-prioritized sexual assault on this campus”

She talked about how Title IX director Catherine Caroll was in her eyes, “demoted” by President Loh. Caroll used to report to Loh’s chief of staff Michele Eastman, but now reports to a general council.

President Loh said in an article with the Diamondback that this reassignment was made to ease the reporting process and that because a lot of Title IX has to do with legal issues, it makes more sense for her to talk to general counsel.

However, Cristina sees this as a buffer between Title IX and Loh and says that the President did this so “he no longer has to deal with Title IX”.

As PSA and its supporters marched the Slut Walk, they held up posters with messages about sexual assault.  “Nobody asks what my RAPIST was wearing” read one. “What do you call a woman who likes to have sex? Her name” read another.

Erika Tarawallie, a member of PSA who held up a sign that read “My pussy, my choice” said “Some people don’t realize sexual assault is such a big issue on our campus ‘cause it’s not often talked about”

Some PSA members are victims, others just supporters. But they all came together to walk this march and raise awareness about sexual assault on University of Maryland’s campus.

Featured Photo Credit: On October 6th, 2017, PSA leads a “Slut Walk” across campus to raise awareness about sexual assault. (Lisa Woolfson/ Bloc Photographer)

Lisa Woolfson is a sophomore journalism and government and politics major and can be reached at lisasamw@gmail.com.

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