College. We know: you’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt (or sweatshirt, or water bottle, or–let’s be real–the debt) to prove it.
Even long after graduating, alumni have a huge part to play in challenging the culture of sexual violence at their alma maters. We often come across alumni who want to know how they can leverage their power and influence with the college administration to support the efforts of student activists and make it clear that there is no place for sexual assault in any form at their schools.
You can still do something to challenge the culture of violence at your school, even if you’re a few months, years, or even decades out of college. In fact, you can probably do more now than you ever could before. How? We’ve got you covered.
We took to Twitter to ask for concrete actions alumni can take to ensure their alma maters are safer, more gender equitable spaces for future students.
1. Knowledge is power. Use resources like alumni magazines to highlight student activism, raise awareness and rally support.
@BreakthroughUS @affirmconsent @yalealumnimag had a panel on SA which covered the issue well I think https://t.co/RzxGS6CbHN #chatbreak
— Katie Chockley (@KatieChocklet) September 10, 2015
2. Know where your money is going. Money talks. According to the Council for Aid to Education, alumni donated a total of $9.86 billion in 2014. Withhold donations or earmark them for specific projects.
A3 Brown used this approach http://t.co/8iBG5wRgCh. More alumni giving demands http://t.co/Jn6kj1rtDP #chatbreak. — Simple Questions (@simplequestions) September 10, 2015
3. Ask difficult questions. Let the administration know that you’re paying attention to their policies. Create spaces where you can share this information, or ask others to join you in taking action.
Gonna reach out to @newpaltz to see what their campus policy and culture is like on this issue #ChatBreak
— joesamalin (@joesamalin) September 10, 2015
4. Strength in numbers. It might sound obvious, but anyone who has ever graduated from your college is an alumnus. That’s A LOT of people, and a whole lot of collective power.
One in 20 Americans w/ a college degree got it from a @calstate = endless alumni who can advocate, donate, take action, vote… #chatbreak — Nina M. Flores (@bellhookedme) September 10, 2015
5. Stay engaged. Through creating an active and engaged alumni community, you’re more likely to find others who take this issue as seriously as you do, or who might if they knew more about it.
A3: @BreakthroughUS the @thehuntinground was shown on campus to students. The next goal is to take it to alumni nationally. #ChatBreak
— Lisa Wiley Parker (@MSUAALisa) September 10, 2015
6. Consider your legacy. Sometimes, alumni are actually part of the problem. Certain students are seen as more valuable to the school (members of Greek life, or athletes) because they tend to donate more money to the school as alumni. This in turn creates a culture of impunity and cover ups within these institutions, because they prioritize future donations over student safety. Challenge that culture. All students deserve to feel safe and respected on campus.
Is there truth to alumni as forces in keeping things quiet? Those with ties to sports/fraternal orders? @breakthroughUS #chatbreak — Circle of 6 App (@Circleof6app) September 10, 2015
7. Raise money for survivor services.
Alumni can raise legal defense funds for nonprofits so victims have lawyers in campus sexual assault hearings @BreakthroughUS #ChatBreak
— Laura Dunn, J.D. (@SurvJustice) September 10, 2015
8. Advocate for prevention programming and policy change. Does it make you uncomfortable that your school is using money to fight lawsuits from survivors who were failed by the institution, instead of spending it on sexual assault prevention?
@BreakthroughUS Alumni can ask to look at how funds are allocated for after the fact lawsuits v. prevention education, tools, etc #chatbreak — Circle of 6 App (@Circleof6app) September 10, 2015
9. Raise the profile of student activists. Keeping lines of communication open with current students and supporting their activities has a big impact! Create a positive and student-supportive alumni culture that will encourage new graduates to get involved too.
.@BreakthroughUS A3 One of the most powerful things Alumni can do is reach out to student groups on campus pushing for change. #ChatBreak
— Know Your IX (@knowyourIX) September 10, 2015
10. Start somewhere. Think of one concrete action you can take: whether it’s making a phone call to the alumni association to ask what they’re doing around the issue of sexual violence, asking the university what the official policies are, challenging the culture of impunity around sexual assault, or pushing for accountability. Reconnect with your fellow alumni and let us know what you learn.
A4: Reaching out to my alum association this week! Thanks for the inspiration, all 🙂 #chatbreak — Nina M. Flores (@bellhookedme) September 10, 2015
Feeling inspired? Sign the alumni pledge today and let us know what ACTION you take. (We’re always open to suggestions and stories of what does–and doesn’t–work! Comment on the pledge to let us know.)