The Student Senate released an official statement condemning the politicization of sexual abuse and assault survivors, showing their empathy and support for those affected.
Manik Elahi, Secretary and Trustee of the Student Senate, has proposed and passed a document representing the Student Senate’s desire to harshly condemn not only the perpetrators of sexual crimes, but those who would leverage the stories of their survivors for political gain at the local and national level.
“We’ve had enough of this political rhetoric which involves [and] manipulates, takes advantage of stories, victims, people who’ve gone through such horrific events like sexual assault and domestic violence,” said Elahi.
Elahi believes now is the right time to have this be a focus of the Student Senate. Elahi tied these concerns to the current presidential election, mentioning that a measure of inspiration for this motion was due to politics at the national level.
“Something like this in political rhetoric has never come across,” said Elahi. “We are saddened and we condemn this kind of political rhetoric, especially in presidential elections where the viewership is all around the world.”
This is the first resolution of this sort made by any Student Senate member in the 50 years the Student Senate has been active, making this move a historical one.
The move just as equally a point of pride for students, stresses Elahi, as the will of the student body is intended to flow through its Student Senate.
Elahi approaches the issue through his membership and volunteer work with the “It’s On Us” campaign.
“It’s On Us” is a national movement involving the support of 99 organizations and groups including the The White House, U.S. Olympic Committee and various sports teams.
“I wish this didn’t happen. I wish I didn’t have to do this, or my colleagues wouldn’t have to pass something like this, but it has come to the point that we cannot tolerate this anymore as citizens of this country, as vocal members, as productive members of this society,” said Elahi.
Elahi affirms that this resolution itself is not intended as a political act.
“This is a very apolitical resolution in the sense that we are condemning all parties, all candidates, all surrogates, all campaigns who use this kind of material to promote their campaign,” said Elahi, denouncing all who do as “extremely unethical.”
Currently, the college offers counseling to all students, for any reason and in keeping with SUNY mandates, all campus sport, club and executive leaders are required to attend a workshop discussing sexual harassment. Elahi credits the Student Activities Office with this step forward.
Elahi said, “The campus is very strict against sexual assault. I’m more than proud of our public safety, they always take action whenever there’s even a hint of something like that, or any other crime or illegal activity on campus.”