Trigger warning: this piece discusses visceral details of sexual assault.

The frequency of sexual assault on American college campuses derives primarily from tolerance of sexism and sexist acts and widespread ignorance regarding rape.

Dear President Martin,

I'm sure you've received plenty of backlash, both in public and in private, in regards to the culture of sexual violence that has been so prevalent at Amherst College throughout its history. I, a Mount Holyoke student, write to you to tell you I am truly beyond appalled at your administration's lack of an appropriate response to this issue. In fact, more than your lack of appropriateness, I am appalled at the events brought to light in an op-ed by Angie Epifano that was published in The Amherst Student on Oct. 17, 2012.

Major: English
Thesis Advisor: Karen Sanchez-Eppler

Q: What is your thesis about?

A: My thesis is a creative nonfiction piece on foster care. It’s about my family’s and my experience with foster children, how we’ve learned to navigate that, my personal take on what it’s like, what the issues are that need to be solved and what I’ve seen.

Q: How did this idea come about?

Last week, 777 different students went to the atrium of Keefe Campus Center to “grab” a bagged lunch and “go” to class. Although the menu changed daily, students could pick either an entrée sandwich/wrap or salad (one of which was a vegetarian item), choose three additional snacks — chips, pretzels, popcorn, fresh fruit or a dessert — and finally choose one beverage.

“The intent is to provide a product that will present fresh, made of quality, ingredients with a good perceived value from our students,” said Jeremy Roush, Amherst College’s Executive Chef.

Last Wednesday, Oct. 17, former student Angie Epifano shocked the campus and sparked a heated discussion about sexual respect with her personal “Account of Sexual Assault at Amherst College” published in The Student, which described her experience with the administration and counseling center after being sexually assaulted in May 2011.

Speech given during the Healing Fire held on Thursday, Oct. 18th 2012.

My name is Ali Simeone, and I’m a Peer Advocate of Sexual Respect. I want to let you all know that the Peer Advocates are here to support you through your experiences; we know this past week has been especially trying — please don’t hesitate to talk to any of us. Also, I am a co-facilitator for Break the Silence, a support group for Survivors of Sexual Disrespect. If anyone needs to speak to me about these issues, I am a resource.

In the aftermath of the two articles regarding sexual misconduct on campus, first Dana Bolger’s about the TD t-shirt, and then, yesterday, Angie Epifano’s emotional article concerning her experiences on campus, there has been an outcry from the student body. Please, do not misunderstand my intentions in this commentary; these articles, these experiences, they deserve shock and they deserve outrage.