Student receives advocacy award

Jessica Rothschuh

Kent State student Stacy Bogart received a 2005 Jeanne Clery Campus Safety Award yesterday for her work to improve the way colleges respond to student rape complaints.

“I’m just really so honored,” Bogart said. “I often wonder if it would have been easier if I’d never spoken up, and the answer is no because you’re going to have to deal with it at some point.”

Bogart, a senior communication studies major, is a survivor of a sexual assault at Ohio State University in 2002 and a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit Jane Doe v. Ohio, in which she alleged Ohio State mishandled her sexual assault report.

Security On Campus, Inc., a national nonprofit campus safety organization, chose Bogart as one of the student recipients of the national award that honors schools and individuals working to improve student safety for the impact her case had on procedures at Ohio State.

“Her willingness to come forward inspired what we believe is a big change,” said S. Daniel Carter, vice president of Security On Campus. “From what we understand, things have improved at Ohio State.”

As recently as yesterday, the organization received calls from Ohio colleges citing Bogart’s case and inquiring about how to improve the safety of their students in regards to sexual assault.

The organization presented the award yesterday at a ceremony on Ohio State’s campus hosted by the student organization Women and Allies Rising in Resistance. Bogart said the student group helped her during the healing process.

“They supported me in ways that no one else has been able to,” Bogart said. The group sent about 500 letters to Ohio State’s president demanding the university admit wrongdoing in her case.

“We have been supporting her throughout her lawsuit,” said Jennifer Yoder, a Women and Allies Rising in Resistance member. “She could have some dramatic effects on the policy, and in fact, she already has.”

Since Bogart’s lawsuit, Ohio State has improved its policies and is working on creating a sexual assault policy, Yoder said. In addition, Women and Allies Rising in Resistance began an advocacy program and a campaign to create lists to deliver to university officials requesting steps be taken to create a safer environment for students.

“The most important thing to take from this is to be inspired that one student’s stepping forward can make a difference,” Carter said.

Security On Campus co-founders Connie and Howard Clery established the Clery Award in 1994 in memory of their daughter Jeanne, who was brutally raped and murdered at Lehigh University in 1986.

The awards’ other 2005 recipients are Villanova University and a group of student journalists from Texas who wrote a series of campus crime articles.

Contact news correspondent Jessica Rothschuh at [email protected].