January 19, 2017
By Sophia Arim and Yong-Yi Chiang
Hi, our names are Sophia Arim and Yong-Yi Chiang and we are the Co-Directors of Bruin Consent Coalition. After our protests against Piterberg last week, we write this only in the hope of healing and moving forward.
To the media, we need you but please be a little kinder to us. Don’t just take our quotes, write your article, and forget about us. For you, it might just be one article. For us, it has been an everyday struggle. Please remember that behind all the loud protests are two survivors, Nefertiti Takla and Kristen Glasgow, who voices have not been heard. Remember how deeply personal their stories are when you write about Piterberg.
To the protestors, thank you for dragging yourself out of the bed to protest at 7 AM on the first day of classes. As a student, it should not be your responsibility to sacrifice your education and skip classes in order to protect the safety of other students. It should not be your responsibility to exhaust yourself the first week of school, when 2017 promised a new start, a clean slate, yet there you were, and we are so grateful to you. At the same time, we also respect and support those who chose to distance themselves from such a toxic environment. Your decision to stay in those mornings does not take away from your passion for this issue.
To the UCLA administration, we have always strived to have a relationship built on mutual respect and have, more often than not, found ways to work together for the betterment of our campus community, but that does not mean we were ever complacent. When you sent the Interim Dean of Social Sciences to threaten students about violating the Student Code of Conduct and placed security outside the classroom, all while we were attempting to protest peacefully, you made it clear that the safety of Piterberg was more important that the safety of your students. We need to know, now more than ever, that you are on our side, fighting for us, not against us.
To the students currently enrolled in his class, you have every right to your education. Please understand that we are not trying to disrupt your learning, but rather trying to prioritize your safety and that of the rest of the student body. It is not your job to accommodate to Piterberg; it is university’s job to accommodate to you. The university’s active protection of Piterberg only demonstrates a disturbing complacency towards sexual harassment and assault.
To Piterberg, go fuck yourself. You probably think you did nothing wrong, and that’s the most disturbing part. We hope you remain uncomfortable and unwelcome at this university. You are the one disrupting learning, not us.
But most importantly, to the survivors, we are sorry that we lost sight of your experiences and have all contributed in the dehumanizing of them. We are sorry that somehow the name “Piterberg” overshadowed “Kirsten Glasgow” and “Nefertiti Takla.” We are sorry that to most of the world, your names will always be attached to your identity as a survivor, when you and all survivors are so much more. We are sorry that we failed you all. The most excruciating fact of the matter is, that more likely than not, Piterberg will not be fired this year, but as members of Bruin Consent Coalition, as humans so deeply heartbroken about these acts of violence, we will continue to advocate for you, whether it be keeping administration accountable, continuing to protest, or simply existing as part of Bruin Consent Coalition. We hear your stories and we are here for you.
NOTE: Starting Wednesday, January 18th, Bruin Consent Coalition has officially not participated in the protests against Piterberg. All of our members are still welcome to attend any protests; however, we as the leaders of Bruin Consent Coalition have decided to continue to seek change through continued conversation with administration and policy efforts. We will always hold the administration accountable for its actions, but must also place supporting survivors as our first and foremost priority. We will continue to provide safe spaces for survivors and advocate for change.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, here are some confidential resources:
CARE: Campus Assault Resources & Education
John Wooden Center West, 1st Floor
CAPS: Counseling & Psychological Services
John Wooden Center West