Sac State to host community forum in response to sexual assaults

Event organized by first-year student


Alyssa Branum

The Redwood Room in the University Union on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, where a community discussion event will be held later on Nov 17. This forum comes after several sexual assaults have occurred on and nearby Sacramento State’s campus. (Photo by Alyssa Branum).

Emma Hall

CONTENT WARNING: The following article refers to incidents of sexual assault. 

During a spike of increased sexual violence at Sacramento State, first-year student Michael Lee-Chang and the Women’s and Gender Studies Department will be holding a community discussion on Friday, Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Redwood Room at the University Union.

Organized by Lee-Chang, a political science major and student representative for the university’s Sexual Violence Awareness team, this community discussion aims to include students, who Chang said he feels have been left out, in the conversation about the recent sexual assaults.  

Chang said he felt called to action to organize this event in early October after the assault near Eureka Hall, when a man forced himself on a female student. 

“I want [students] to feel like they’re the ones in power,” Chang said. “They’re the ones paying money to be here and they have a right to feel safe.” 

According to Chang, this forum seeks to provide a platform for community concerns, suggestions and the sharing of resources. 

The forum intends to give faculty a voice as well. While the assaults contribute to conversations about student safety, Chang highlighted their impact on faculty too, explaining he’s heard part-time lecturers having to ask students to walk them to their cars after late classes. 

“We do need a more emergency response because the fact that we’ve had more sexual assaults is dire,” Chang said. “It’s a cause for incredible concern.” 

According to Chang, President Robert Nelsen, Vice President of Student Affairs Ed Mills and Vice President for Inclusive Excellence Mia Settles-Tidwell will be in attendance. 

Several sexual assaults have occurred on and nearby campus since the beginning of the semester. 

On Sept. 23 and Oct. 5, two assaults were reported on and off campus. The university later clarified one of these assaults occurred at Hornet Commons. The suspect, known as ‘Zayn’ is still at large.

Another reported incident occurred near Eureka Hall on Oct. 8. According to a press conference held by Police Chief Chet Madison Jr., the suspect from this assault was cited with a misdemeanor for sexual battery, released and banned from campus after forcing himself on a female student.

Madison stated campus police have a “very vague” description of the Oct. 8 suspect. 

The most recent assault was reported inside a campus computer lab on Oct. 28. The assault occurred the day before on the 27. This information was shared with students in a “timely warning notice” sent on Oct. 29, past midnight.  

On Nov. 7, a woman reported being videotaped by a cellular phone while in a bathroom stall in the University Union. Sac State PD released a picture of the suspect, who is still at large. 

All victims have been students. 

Chang said while he’s grateful for the university’s support for the event, sending emails isn’t enough. He hopes this event will start an ongoing conversation about campus safety. 

“I want this to be an opportunity to begin a conversation that isn’t just a reactionary thing that will end after a month or will be forgotten,” Chang said. “I don’t think holding this event will be a solution to all problems… I just hope that this is a step in the right direction.”