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Purdue News

After Purdue students were arrested for posting flyers on campus, protestors gather to post one hundred more

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Purdue students posted over one hundred flyers on the doors of Hvode Hall Thursday (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

Purdue students papered over one hundred flyers onto the doors of the Hovde Hall building on campus Thursday night, protesting what they saw as the university’s unwillingness to address campus sexual assault and failure to uphold a right to free speech.

The protest was in response to the arrest of two students for posting flyers around campus calling for the firing of university staff member Brandon Cutler.

Students have alleged that in response to several sexual assaults on campus, Cutler - Purdue’s director of Fraternity, Sorority, and Cooperative Life - told them if the university’s drinking rules had been followed, the assaults would not have happened.

After students were arrested for posting the flyers, the university and Purdue police said the content of the signs was not at issue, but that the adhesive used to post the flyers damaged campus property.

But protestor and Purdue junior Brian Lee said that argument doesn’t hold up.

“It really shows what their priorities are,” he said. “On this campus when students do not feel safe they decided to commit our resources, our tuition and taxpayer money, to hunting down students that just wanted to feel safe. That’s it.”

Lee said that the university has been slow to react to calls for accountability on campus - which makes the response to the flyers all the more jarring.

“This administration has done nothing substantial so far to protect Purdue women and Purdue students,” he said. “Their first priority was to suppress students asking for action because they were scared their brand, their wallet, was going to be harmed. We’re here to say that their brand doesn’t matter if students on this campus don’t feel safe.”

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Protestor Brian Lee speaking at Thursday's protest (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

Libby Sorenson, a Purdue sophomore, said the school’s board of trustees has told students it supports their efforts to address campus sexual assault.

“I’m just really frustrated to see how long it’s taken,” she said. “Obviously students have said it’s a concern. It feels like the administration just isn’t listening to us.”

And, Sorenson said, students getting arrested for posting flyers felt like an overreaction.

“I think that is reflective that Purdue doesn’t like the bad publicity,” she said. “But students don’t like not feeling safe on campus.”

The protest was also attended by West Lafayette City Councilmember David Sanders, who said he wanted to stand with the students.

“It seems like there is a selective prosecution of the students, and I think that the response was much harsher than necessary,” he said.

Sanders, also a professor at the university, said the claim that the flyers posted around campus were vandalism just doesn’t hold up.

“I’ve been on this campus for a long time. There is vandalism on the sign outside of the parking lot I use and they haven’t even cleaned it up,” he said. “I want to stand with the students.”

The group MeToo Purdue, when reached for comment, said they were not connected to Thursday's protest.