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Purdue students gather to show solidarity with survivors of sexual violence

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Purdue students gathered for a vigil standing in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

A few hundred Purdue students marched across campus Tuesday night in a show of solidarity with survivors of sexual violence.

The event was organized by MeTooPurdue, which staged a pack-in of the university’s board of trustees meeting earlier this month, demanding the school take steps to address a string of sexual assault allegations connected to university Greek life.

Beth Kelly is a Purdue junior who spoke at the march. She said the group wants to see the university adopt a no-tolerance policy for sexual assault on campus generally, but particularly at fraternities.

“It’s just the inherent misogyny of our culture that we want to really change and prevent for my kids and my kids’ kids,” she said. “Any future generations.”

MeTooPurdue has a series of demands featured on its change.org petition, including amnesty for women who come forward to report an assault but may have been engaged in underage drinking at the time.

Kelly said MeTooPurdue will keep the pressure on the university.

“And we will not give up until we see the change we so desperately need enacted,” she said.

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Charlotte Russell helped organize Tuesday night's event (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

Olivia Wyrick attended the march and is the student body vice president. She said she’s part of a committee in the university senate that has created an action plan for addressing sexual violence on campus.

“The action plan to put it simply looks at every single university policy related to this issue and gave suggestions on how they can be better,” she said.

Some of the action plan’s requests include an update to the university’s definition of informed consent, adding sexual misconduct information to the student code of conduct, and requiring that students read and agree to Purdue’s policies and the consequences for sexual assault.

“While the solutions are a little bit more slow-paced than we’d like to see, change like this can’t happen overnight,” Wyrick said.

Wyrick said her committee has been meeting with the administration about the plan and hopes to have a clearer picture of which policies the university is willing to change within the next few weeks.