Club urges removal of SAFE act

UVM students have asked the administration to “denounce” a federal act, according to a December letter sent to President Tom Sullivan.

College Undergraduates Not Tolerating Sexism, UVM’s feminist club known by the acronym C.U.N.T.S, asked the University to join the club in condemning a federal bill called the SAFE Act in a Dec. 7 letter addressed to Sullivan, said sophomore Stevie Lynn Hunter, co-president of C.U.N.T.S.  

The act will require universities to report numbers and instances of sexual violence along with other “serious crimes,” to local authorities, according to the text of the bill.

C.U.N.T.S. condemns the act because it would reconfigure and limit the legal processing options for victims of sexual assault, Hunter said.

“This law is undeniably depriving victims of the right to decide how they would like to negotiate the trauma of sexual assault,” the letter stated.

The club’s letter was signed by 289 students, Hunter said.

In a Dec. 16 letter addressed directly to the club, Sullivan stated that the University will “oppose anything” that would interfere with the University’s ability to respond to sexual violence on campus.

Sophomore C.U.N.T.S. member Emily Grace Arriviello said she was surprised by Sullivan’s response.

“I am happy that he is taking the time to pay attention to this issue and is having critical conversations about how damaging the SAFE Campus Act would be if the bill was brought to UVM,“ Arriviello said.

Arriviello said she hopes this letter sparks a conversation about the bill’s impact.

“I hope this encourages him to also look at how we are currently handling incidents of sexual misconduct and what we could be doing better to keep our students safe,” she said.

“It’s so hard for a victim of sexual misconduct to come forward, and when they aren’t given the support they need it’s even harder,” Arriviello said.