MSU Surviving Souls Article

Surviving Souls is a campus organization dedicated to helping prevent sexual assaults. They meet every Wed. at 7 P.M. in the Plaster Student Union

A new petition calling for sexual assault accountability at Missouri State University has garnered nearly 800 signatures as of Dec. 21. 

On Dec. 6, senior Destanie Watson, a double major in Sociology and Psychology and founder of Surviving Souls, started a petition calling for MSU administration to hold sexual abusers accountable on campus. 

Surviving Souls is an organization started in 2019 that is dedicated to sexual assault awareness at MSU.

As of Dec. 21, the petition has 797 signatures and can be found on the Surviving Souls Instagram page, @surviving.souls. The petition calls for MSU to hold abusers to greater accountability as victims have claimed the incidents they reported to staff and the Title IX office have not been “held in high regard.” 

Melissa Berry, director of the office for institutional equity and compliance, said the university is dedicated to maintaining a campus environment that is "safe and free from sexual violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault including domestic or dating violence, and stalking." 

Berry said the Title IX Office is connected to a variety of resources both on campus and across Springfield, which assist in providing support to those who visit the office.

The petition also calls for perpetrators at all levels be exposed and removed if charges are found. An investigation should also be held immediately after the incident is reported, the petition says. The petition asks the university to regularly provide updates to students via a new digital resource for crime alerts that allows submissions to remain anonymous.  

The petition was in response to numerous occurrences of sexual abuse on campus over the past several years. This semester alone, there have been three instances of sexual abuse reported, according to the MSU Daily Crime Log

Surviving Souls was created as a result of Watson’s own experiences, she said on the Surviving Souls website. Her mission is to make a place for people to talk about their experiences on campus in a safe environment. The organization meets at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays in room 317 of the Plaster Student Union. The petition itself can be found here.

Follow Shane Sansom on Twitter, @shane_sansom

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