On April 18th, the URDU hosted a public debate centered on the question, “Should All Universities be Required to Report All Cases of Campus Sexual Assault to the Police?”
Miriam Kohn (the first speaker on the proposition side, AKA the Prime Minister), Rachit Sabharwal (the second speaker on the proposition side, AKA the Deputy Prime Minister) and Bethany Gardner (the final speaker on the proposition side, AKA the Government Whip) argued that reporting all campus sexual assaults to the police should be mandatory. They emphasized the need for justice for survivors of sexual assault and the safer campus environment that would be created if perpetrators of sexual assault were removed from campuses.
Ben Frazer (the first speaker on the opposition side, AKA the Leader of the Opposition) Anne Cheng (the second speaker on the opposition side, AKA the Deputy Leader of the Opposition) and Kate Zheng (the final speaker on the opposition side, AKA the Opposition Whip) argued against mandatory reporting. They stressed the significance of agency for sexual assault survivors (which can be compromised when the police become involved) and the pressing need for colleges to take responsibility for what happens on their campuses.
Many audience members gave spirited floor speeches after the debate. Overall, the participating URDU members and the larger University of Rochester community treated a difficult topic with the respect and sensitivity it deserved. We are proud of our university for engaging in discussion around such an important issue.