Students march in solidarity to combat threatening posters around campus

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Photo credit: Ryan Paice
The solidarity march making its way to College Hall in response to recent threatening posters and emails.

After a recent appearance of several inappropriate posters found around campus and threatening anonymous emails, Carlos Marcio Ramirez has taken responsibility for the actions, and has been given a No Trespass Order (NTO). A non-affiliated guest, Ramirez put the posters up and sent the emails for fun as a sort of twisted prank on the New College student body.

The posters were first brought to the public eye via a forum post by Emma Kervel, who found one making a rape joke inside of the room in the Hamilton Center where the bathrooms can be entered. The students who responded to the post were surprised with separately sent anonymous emails sent privately to them, including saying “Your safe spaces are mine” and “I’ll be out tonight. Hope you got some fast legs”. As threatening and triggering as the emails were, the police were able to track the IP address that sent them, and the police had a place to start investigating.

“We investigated the incidents and attempted to get a subpoena to find an IP address,” Chief of Police Michael Kessie said via email. “Since the behavior did not rise to the level of a crime, we could not receive a subpoena.”

Despite the setback, Ramirez spoke to Macy McFaddon, a USF student with friends at New College, via KiK about the posters and emails, and McFaddon came forward to show screenshots of their conversation, revealing Ramirez’s admitted involvement with the events

“Ramirez was located in a residence hall and initially denied the allegations. After being at CPD, [Ramirez] admitted to putting up the posters and sending the emails,” Kessie continued. “He said that he has done all of it as a prank, as he enjoyed taunting the students.”

The initial angered shock caused by the posters has now settled into a determined opposition against the posters and everything that they embody. Students have unified and rallied against the threat and attitude the posters pose, and organized events like the solidarity march to the bay have taken place in response.

Almost 50 people gathered on Z Green on Nov. 6 before grabbing a candle, lighting it, and walking silently together as a group to College Hall after some meaningful words from Tricia Johnson and Christina Harn. When the solidarity march reached College Hall, the group held an open safe space for survivors and those effected by sexual assault to share their experiences with it. The event was a quiet but sweeping success for the campus, gaining more walkers along the way to College Hall and earning heaps of admiration and support for the event.

“I think it [the solidarity march] went really well,” third-year Christina Harn said. “It wasn’t really about the numbers, it was about having an opportunity to make eye contact and really feel the community, and also there were a lot of people that have expressed that just knowing that the march happened made them feel safer and more supported on campus.”

Harn emphasized that the posters and emails were not an isolated event, but rather another event in a ongoing pattern of violence and aggression towards women on the New College campus – citing the various times that the Share Center in the Hamilton Center has been vandalized.

“In the spring of last school year, it was vandalized with a lot of menstrual pads that were going to be donated to Spark – which is a safe place for victims of domestic violence – were ripped apart and thrown around and the carpet was ruined and there was liquid paint smeared on the walls,” Harn detailed.

The Share Center was again vandalized recently, when several rape jokes were written in chalk on the board. In addition to gendered and ableist slurs being found written in the men and women’s restrooms in the Hamilton Center, there have been several instances where the community has been impacted in a threatening and triggering way.

“Even if it is only one person who put up the flyers and sent the emails, it still doesn’t mean that it is just one person responsible for this,” Harn said. “I think that there are a lot of people who make rape jokes to be edgy, and I think that those people obviously received messages that they think that they are not the ones responsible for creating the rape culture that we live in.”

Harn stressed that for change to take place in order to better address these issues, a critical eye must be placed upon ourselves as members of the campus community and as an institution.

“How do we counter that and change ourselves on a personal level to be more supportive of our friends and peers who have experienced violence,” Harn said. “How do we change ourselves, as a student body, to support programming to prevent sexual assault and support survivors, and how do we change as an institution so that this violence is not allowed?”

Now that Ramirez has been given a NTO and has been escorted off campus, the community can rest soundly without threatening emails being sent to them or triggering posters popping up across campus. However, there is substance to Harn’s idea that this is just another event in a pattern of violence and aggression on campus, and the community should of course be ever careful.

“We all need to look out for each other as one, unified community,” Kessie said. “If there is someone who has been the victim/survivor of a crime, help them. Get them to the CWC, the Victim Advocate, or CPD. Make sure that they are not alone and there are people in place to help them.”

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