Amherst students respond to cases of sexual assault with a 5-college rally

Over 500 students from the Five Colleges congregated yesterday afternoon near the Campus Pond of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) to rally in protest of a series of alleged assaults that have occurred in the area over the past two weeks.

In the last few weeks, women on the UMass and Amherst campuses have reported six attempted assaults, including at least two alleged rapes at UMass and another alleged assault that occurred during the rally.

“Maybe we believe that if a woman screams, people will come and help,” said Jessamyn Smythe, a Counselor Advocate (CA) at UMass’ Everywoman’s Center, who organized the rally. “Some of us create bubbles around ourselves.”

“In four years on this campus, I’ve never been so outraged,” UMass Student Government Association (SGA) President Jeff Howe said at the rally. “There’s no place for that on our campus.”

“Sometimes we think those things only happen in other cities and faraway places,” UMass Chancellor David Scott said to the crowd. “We cannot allow this campus to have to live in fear.”

But Howe criticized Scott and the rest of the UMass administration for ignoring SGA demands. “I put the responsibility on the campus administration,” Howe said.

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