Men’s Sexual Assault Roundtable meets for the first time

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    When friends of Student Body President Cody Westphal shared with him the mental anguish and powerlessness they felt after being sexually assaulted, he said he was determined to end these crimes on TCU’s campus.

    “I can’t see this problem happening and do nothing about it as a human being,” Westphal said.

    Westphal said he wants to educate TCU’s male leaders on how to end sexual assault.

    Twenty leaders from organizations across campus participated in the first Men’s Sexual Assault Roundtable Wednesday night. Participants included members of Greek organizations, ROTC, resident assistants and athletes.

    Members of the Men’s Sexual Assault Roundtable share why they believe the problem of sexual assault must be addressed on TCU’s campus:

    “Very rarely do men come out in public and take ownership of this problem that is so common,” said Alex Cohen, SGA speaker of the House. “In a perfect world, we would have all 4,000 men on campus here.”

    Westphal started the group as a reaction to President Obama’s campaign “Its On Us,” aimed at ending sexual assault on college campuses. In announcing the initiative, Obama said one in five college women are sexually assaulted.

    TCU will use the brand “Not On My Campus.”

    “It’s hard to communicate the issue when it’s coming from TCU administration,” said Preston Newsome, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity president. “However, when its coming from guys that are leaders in their organizations, guys that are respected and guys who are natural role models, it’s going to be more effective and it’s going to sink in with our population.”

    Cohen, Newsome and Westphal listed their college-age sisters as motivation for getting involved.

    “If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem,” Westphal said.

    The group has not made a decision on its next meeting time, but Westphal said he hopes to make the gatherings at least once a semester.

    Westphal also said the only way men can come close to understanding the problem of sexual assault is by including women in future discussions.