The New School Free Press February 2015 Print Issue

Page 5

February 2015

Sexual Assault Policy on Campus By Tamar Lapin with reporting by Dylan Schulman

A new piece of legislation proposed by the city’s Public Advocate Letitia James aims to combat on-campus sexual assault by establishing education and prevention programs at universities across the city. “Survivors of campus sexual assault have been failed by a system meant to educate and protect them,” James said addressing a crowd made up of advocates, educators and students during a Feb. 12 forum at The New School about the legislation dubbed the New York City Campus Safety Act. Her statements came shortly after The New School outlined its own efforts to educate students, staff and teachers on sexual assault through an online survey- a survey that went unnoticed by many students.


lic forum. She emphasized that a lack of education is what caused her to spend a long time not being able to comprehend her assault, which happened during her freshman year, and classify it as rape. James and other speakers at the event emphasized the importance of an education based curriculum to combat on campus sexual assaults by citing a series of troubling statistics including that one in five women will be sexualy assaulted during their time at college, according to the oft cited Campus Sexual Assault Study of 2007. Event attendees broke into groups to discuss James’ legislation that is trying to bridge gaps between government and laws and universities by reviewing and implementing a sexual assault curriculum. “We need something more useful than an online quiz,” a CUNY educator said in one of the groups. The New School, on Feb. 2, followed the path many universities have taken, like CUNY, by mandating an online anti-sexual assault training for students, staff and faculty. The training, administered by Texas-based company Workplace Answers, explains rights under Title IX and asks over 100 multiple choice questions explaining federal anti-discrimination rights under the law. Administrators did not say how the university would confirm that people completed the training.

James’ act aims to remedy an epidemic that has received widespread attention by universities and the federal government, with the surfacing of cases like those of Emma Sulkowicz at Columbia and of unnamed students at the UVA, CalArts, and Vanderbilt.

“Every member of the community is expected to take the training,” said Linda Reimer, Senior Vice President for Student Services, who sent the email, when asked if completion of the training would be mandatory.

“We are having this forum not because all of a sudden this is the issue of the moment, but because sexual violence has always been and will always be unacceptable,” said Rachel Knopf, of the university’s office of Wellness and Health Promotion.

Ninety-six postsecondary schools are under Title IX review by the federal government for sexual assault violations, including Columbia, CUNY Hunter and Sarah Lawrence to name a few in New York. Any school that receives federal funding is required by law to abide by Title IX regulations.

Zoe Ridolfi-Starr, a Columbia senior who co-founded advocate group No Red Tape, and launched a Title IX complaint against the university also spoke at the pub-

Student reactions to the training aimed at educating them about Title IX regulations range from confused to disinterested.

“I got the email but felt like there was not enough explanation,” said Emma Hersh, a Lang student. Another student, Dungin Shin, an M.F.A. student who also works in the provost’s office, said she was required to complete the training in order to get paid. “It was really fascinating, better than what I had expected but also a little too long.” Shin was no longer really paying attention to the training by the end of it, she said. This new online effort to educate the community about sexual assault joins a collection of existing programs. The university has a class as part of their freshman workshop seminars that teaches students to make sure all parties consent before engaging in sexual activity. The New School also offers two information sessions during orientation on definitions of sexual assault and where to report incidents, which Tracy Robbin at The New School’s Counseling Center said are poorly attended. Though there are resources available at The New School, like the Health and Wellness Office and the Sex-E Collective, it seems that there is a lack of outreach to students. Though Hersh says that the staff at the Health and Wellness office is very approachable and that she would feel comfortable going there to report an assault, she also said that this would probably be difficult for students not plugged in to that community. “Isn’t there like the center thingy? Isn’t there like an office or something for that?” said Lang freshman Elizabeth Afutti. Robbin also said that she is part of a team working on making more resources available to students online and that she is planning on sending out a Campus Climate Survey at the end of February to collect data from students and gauge their sexual assault awareness. This data will inform New School administrators on how to move forward.

Check this Mate Student Installs Chess Set in Lang Courtyard

New School Free Press

Josh Ehrenberg, 23, a BAFA student at Lang and Parsons, and a team of others built the chess board, piling slabs of concrete and plywood atop each other, on the eastern steps of the courtyard on Feb. 2, fulfilling a class assignment he was given in the Integrative Design Program, he said. He struck on the idea of a chess board when he was assigned to create “a personal project,” but wanted to make something that benefitted others and remembered the popular chess games in nearby Union and Washington Squares. “I want people to have a reason to gather around and watch a game, people who don’t necessarily know each other will be standing next to each other with a common interest and that’s an opportunity,” Ehrenberg said. Ehrenberg thought The New School lacked a close community but saw the Lang courtyard as a unique and

By Magnus Collins

Arnhold Hall Computers Reboot in New Location Where did all the computers go? That was the question on New School students’ minds when they returned from winter break to find a construction zone in place of the popular third- and fourth-floor computer labs at Arnhold Hall on 13th Street. “I thought it was some kind of cruel joke,” said Miciah Carter, a Parsons photography sophomore who said he had raced up the stairs in Arnhold to print something for his first week of classes only to find construction tape barring his way. “New School’s just playing with us right?” “This decision was made by academic and administrative leadership along with the Board of Trustees,” said Michael Joy, the New School’s Director of Campus Planning and a member of the University Facilities Committee. “Arnhold Hall’s generous ceiling heights, which provide better acoustics, along with the proximity to the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, made it a

natural destination for the newly formed Performing Arts School,” Joy added. Meanwhile, the computers that were once there have been distributed around the university, administrators said. “The computers on the third and fourth floors were moved to the Innovation Center on the sixth floor of 6 E. 16th St., and the University Center in the lower level of 63 Fifth Ave.,” said Lillian Sartori, the New School’s Assistant Vice President of Information Technology and also a member of the University Facilities Committee. Most of the 108 computer stations wound up in four classrooms on Lower Level 1 of the University Center where there is also a designated print center. About half of the work stations are Macs while the rest run Windows, Sartori said. Students are welcome to use the computers, provided classes are not in session. “It’s so annoying cause the computers are never free, every time I go down there’s always classes,” said Grace Kim, a fashion senior at Parsons, who said the computer labs are not as accessible as they once were at Arnhold Hall.

A Tribute to Floor 3 The building is tall and warm. It’s almost like a comforting friend, and why not? After all, it is literally called Arnhold.

The walls were white, but the lights weren’t too bright so it didn’t feel like one was in an insane asylum. Time wasn’t measured by minutes or seconds, but by the calming repetition of the printers printing pages upon pages of our deepest thoughts. Even if the population in the room was sparse one did not feel alone, any possibility of the eerie feeling of solitude combated by the constant peripheral motion and presence of the colorful screensavers. Texting was rampant, animated conversations occasional, and eating tolerated, especially if it was from the New School cafeteria or Murray’s Bagels.

“Ever so often something will happen in the center [of it] and it’s a very nice feeling when that happens. It brings people out to it and kind of gives people the opportunity to enjoy something together,” Ehrenberg said.

“Josh determined the [cost] through research. We made sure he broke down how much each part of the chess board would cost, rather than just estimates. He then got approval from facilities and the university’s curator to execute his project,” said Amanda Manning, a Lang Student Union facilitator. Ehrenberg has yet to see the impact of the board, but hopes it will be more rewarding as the weather warms up. Regardless, he has gotten a lot of positive feedback about the installation from friends and acquaintances, he said. “It’s cold right now so I have yet to see it work in the

“Even though they took away the easiest way to print stuff before class last minute, the Innovation Center makes up for it,” said Kausik Mishra, a literary studies senior at Lang. “Yes, not as many computers, but not as many people either so that’s nice.”

The dynamic between the students was one of acceptance. A girl slept comfortably, passed out on her gray hoodie while two blue wires waterfalled out of her ears. Another student watched “Family Guy” without being questioned. A Parsons student typed away, working towards ten pages on the ethics of fashion. One always wondered, what could someone be doing on both a desktop and a laptop simultaneously? There always seemed to be a healthy balance of individuals with and without headphones. A girl would sip vigorously through her straw and stare intently at the screen. One might have expected her to be enraptured in her school work while sipping on that energizing smoothie, when in fact she was enjoying the humor of Tina Fey and company in “30 Rock.” Another student had Google Maps pulled up. Someone had searched “Tucson” and after a few minutes was looking through different, flashy, rock climbing shoes. The students and users of resources were all connected but still distant.

The dynamic between

Photo by Marissa Baca

the students was one of

group,” Ehrenberg said.


“I think that a lot of people will use the chessboard after the winter especially since it’s in such a convenient area where students are all the time already,” said Lily Smith, a sophomore at Lang. For further chess interest, Ehrenberg is planning on creating a chess club in the near future. So if you’re looking to join, please email him at:

For those in need of a free computer there is the newly finished Innovation Center on the sixth floor of the Vera List Center at 6 E. 16th St. Housed inside of a new library wing these computer rooms are situated in a studious and less well-known area than the University Center’s lower level, with printers located on the seventh and 11th floors and opening hours from 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.


unused opportunity to change that.

Once Ehrenberg solidified his idea, he met with the Lang Student Union and discussed the funding for his chess set.

But the University Center is now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the sixth floor library open all night Monday through Thursday, but that broad access won’t extend to the computer labs which will only be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. until late March, when construction at center is completed.

By Callan Shattuck

While the sixth floor is home to the jazz students and the ninth is a hotspot for the photography buffs, the third floor is -- or rather, was -- the quintessential haven for the rest of us. Students congregated here around the computers, but never flocked. The lab was crowded during finals, but never utter chaos. Instead, there was a mutual agreement among students to work hard and in unison like bees in a beehive.

By Penelope Eaton

An arts student installed a 700-pound wood and concrete chess board in the Lang courtyard in early February in hopes of bringing New Schoolers together, he said.

Where Have All the Computers Gone?

Illustration by Sarah Bibel