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UNM Students Stand With Sexual Assault Survivors

Marisa Demarco / KUNM
The Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice, which put on the event, created luminarias with messages for survivors and information about sexual assaut.

It’s been about a year since the Department of Justice released the results of its investigationinto how New Mexico’s flagship university handles sexual assault cases. The federal report was heavily critical and said assault and harassment have caused students to leave the University of New Mexico. Last night, students stood in solidarity with survivors.

Students gathered in the grass near UNM’s Duck Pond, as speakers from many branches of the university system talked about the complexities of sexual assault and how the school is trying to change.

Gracie Schneiderman is a student and a peer educator for UNM who’s passionate about sexual assault awareness. "There has been a lot of progress, and there still is that foundational distrust," she said, "which there should be. There was a lot of mishandling of information, a lot of mishandling of cases, a lot of not responding the way that we should."

Survivors have talked about the flaws in how the university handles sexual assault cases—lengthy and draining investigations, confusion over what is and isn’t confidential, and how they felt uncomfortable and intimidated when they came forward.

The university revised its policies and required new trainings for staff, faculty and students.


We’ll continue this conversation on the KUNM Call In Show on Thursday, April 27, at 8 a.m. From now until then, you can share your stories and weigh in about how universities can better help survivors by calling a special message line we’ve created: 505-398-4616 or email callinshow@kunm.org.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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