Columbia students hold ‘No Red Tape’ protests in response to handling of alleged sex assault

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NEW YORK (PIX11) --  Protests at Columbia University took place again this week.

On the Facebook page for the campus group  "No Red Tape" there are pictures of projections that were put up on the school including the sign: "Rape Happens Here."

The protests reportedly happened while prospective students were visiting campus.  Last year, there were protests over the handling of an alleged sexual assault. The protest drew crowds and attention outside of the University. Then, students carried mattresses.

The University released a statement that read in part:

"Columbia has consistently supported student freedom of expression as a defining value of our University community.  But that right is best exercised when debate is informed by accurate facts, changing realities and respect for other views.  Many among the small group of Columbia and Barnard students protesting today have been meeting regularly over the past year with senior university administrators, including the Executive Vice President for University Life, who is herself a nationally recognized expert on gender and sexuality law.  Their voices have been and continue to be heard, along with those of many others in the University community.  As a result, Columbia has instituted a range of enhanced efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based misconduct, including:

*    Under our new Executive Vice President for University Life, Columbia has launched an innovative Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative which has engaged our entire student body.

*    Last year the university instituted a revised policy for the investigation and hearing of gender-based misconduct claims that protects the rights of all parties involved and is widely viewed as a national model.

*    Two Sexual Violence Response & Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Centers (rape crisis centers) have been opened during this academic year to provide additional support, services, and prevention training: a second one on the Morningside campus and another at the University Medical Center.

*    Columbia's Gender-Based Misconduct Office is operating with an expanded staff of highly experienced investigators and case managers who are implementing our new policy and supporting students in need.

*    The University is conducting a major research initiative for the purpose of advancing prevention of gender-based misconduct called SHIFT, the Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation, led by respected scholars and clinicians at our Medical Center.

*    Finally, we are in the process of conducting the first-ever, comprehensive survey of Columbia students designed to assess their experiences and perceptions of sexual misconduct, an initiative undertaken in partnership with the Association of American Universities and 26 other schools; in the fall, the AAU will release the aggregate results.

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