Students came together to protest the problematic ways that UConn has been handling sexual assault and rape cases that have been reported to campus police. This issue has been ongoing for years, but only recently did it spark conversation once again.
On February 7th, students chanted “UConn do better!” outside of Rowe Center at the Storrs campus of the University of Connecticut, but for what purpose?
Students came together to protest the problematic ways that UConn has been handling sexual assault and rape cases that have been reported to campus police. This issue has been ongoing for years, but only recently did it spark conversation once again. In 2020, UConn received eighty reports of sexual assault. Out of those eighty people who came forward, only three had their case formally investigated, and UConn found all of their abusers to be not guilty. This is the lowest number of investigations and disciplinary actions for sexual violence since 2014.
These protests were sparked by Alexandra Docken when she and she alone stood outside in the rain on the Storrs campus, holding two signs referring to how UConn campus police treated her. One sign read “I was raped and UConn silenced me” and the other had different statistics contextualizing UConn’s problematic treatment of reports of rape or sexual assult such as how UConn ties first in the nation for campus rapes as well as how Title IX no longer protects you from rape or sexual assault once you are off “campus.”
Docken’s protest gained much of its attention from a post on Instagram with a picture of her standing outside with the two previously mentioned signs. The Instagram post has gained over 72,000 likes and 9,400 comments showing support for Docken and all the others that UConn has tried to silence in the past.
Students heard about the way Docken had been treated and they were enraged; this led to several protests and walkouts being planned to show support to all those UConn had silenced or dismissed in the past. Some of the signs students made read, “What happened to protect our pack?”, “Our safety is more important than your reputation,” and “I came to UConn to escape my abuser only to meet another.”
In an interview with The Daily Campus, UConn’s school newspaper, Docken voiced, “I’m realizing after talking to so many people today as well, how much bigger it is than I originally thought … There could be a real change if I step up to do it. So, I hadn’t planned anything else but I am willing to go and make my voice heard for all those who can’t.”