Everyone’s Responsibility

Logo for the University of Idaho that says "University of Idaho in gold lettering
U of I logo

By Brianna Love

It’s no secret that there is a lot of drama on the University of Idaho campus right now.  Students are protesting. Students are irritated. Students want their voices to be heard and they want a say in how they are treated on this campus. Things are starting to heat up, and if the students don’t get their way, it may become an even bigger issue.

If you’ve been keeping up with the UI Women’s Center blog, then you already know about the drama surrounding Rob Spear and how the university is handling it. If you are confused, here is a basic rundown:

About five years ago, a female swimmer for the University of Idaho reported sexual assault allegations against a football player to the Athletic Director, Rob Spear. Spear decided to not report it to the Dean of Students Office and claimed because the assault happened off campus, there was nothing he could do to help her. It wasn’t until the female athlete went to the UI Women’s Center that the Dean of Students Office was informed. To this day, Rob Spear is still the athletic director at U of I and has only apologized this year due to pressure from the media. Groups of students have voiced their opinions and signed petitions  stating that they want Spear fired.

There is obviously more to the story; however, this is what is causing all the ruckus on campus.

The issue is not necessarily with the university itself. When it was reported to the Dean of Students Office, things were sort of taken care of. The issue is also not with the athletic department as a whole. The issue is with Rob Spear and why the university has not terminated his employment after 5 years.

As students, we expect the faculty and staff to act accordingly to the university policy, the law, and ethical standards. We also expect that when they fail to respect the university policy, the law, and/or ethical standards, the University of Idaho would manage the situation and give proper repercussions. When Rob Spear practically ignored the allegations and refused to help the young woman of whom he was the supervisor of, he violated all three of those expectations. Because we are the paying customers on this campus, students have the right to say we want him gone, and the university has an obligation to hear us out.

A graph of where the students' tuition goes to at the University of Idaho. It shows the the athletic department receives the most out of the other 22 divisions.
Where U of I students’ tuition goes

So far, there has been little to no support for these students from the university. The university has given the excuse that Spear is a different man now. He’s changed for the better. He’s a good guy.  Oh! And my personal favorite, Rob Spear is, “a role model for the university.”

*excuse me as I roll my eyes

I understand that the university has an image to protect, and this is such a critical time while the university recruits incoming freshman. But, what about the current students? We matter just as much as the prospective students do.

The university took steps to prevent sexual abuse on campus. For example, the Greek life on campus took a step back and conducted a social moratorium to examine the correlation between alcohol use and sexual assault cases. As part of the moratorium, every Greek organization was encouraged to participate in a one-hour university “Green Dot” lecture.

Green Dot logo which includes a variety of green dots of all different sizes in the background and the words "Green Dot" at the center.
Green Dot Logo

“Green Dot” is a bystander intervention and sexual violence prevention program. The purpose of such training is to reduce the number of people who are being impacted by sexual violence, dating violence, inter partner violence, and stalking.

The University of Idaho started this program about 5 to 6 years ago. The training on campus teaches faculty, staff, and students about intervening in aggressive situations and helping possible victims of violence. It gives people the basic skills to recognize potentially violent situations (red dots), to intervene or prevent those situations (green dot), and how we can change our campus culture by adding more green dots than red.

Yes, the university has instilled some pretty good preventative measures for sexual assault, such as Green Dot. However, they also need to revamp how they handle the circumstances after there is a report.

Faculty and staff NEED to be held accountable for how they handle violent situations. We desperately need to move away from the tendency to “victim-blame.” We need to move away from acting as if nothing happened.

 

WE DESPERATELY NEED TO MOVE AWAY FROM FAVORITISM!

-male vs. female

-athlete vs. academic

-dorm vs. Greek

-on-campus vs. off-campus

 

It all needs to end.

People are People.

There should no longer be excuses like:

“There’s nothing I can do about it. My hands are tied.”

            “You could lose your scholarship if you pursue charges further.”

                “You went out and partied, so you brought it on yourself.”

                      “Sorry, it happened off campus.”

                            “It’s a he-said, she-said battle.”

                                 “You drank, so you’re not a reliable source.”

                                      “He/she had a bad night.”

                                          “He/she is sorry.”

                                                 etc.

There is no such thing as a “bystander” anymore. Anyone can intervene. Everyone has the obligation to do something. Whether that something is calling the cops, creating a distraction, or facing the situation head on, there is always something that can be done.

 

“Nobody has to do everything, but everybody has to do something.” -Green Dot 

 

If you wish to sign the petition to remove Rob Spear as University of Idaho Athletic Director, please visit this link: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-idaho-president-chuck-staben-university-of-idaho-students-for-the-removal-of-rob-spear

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