"They have to effect change and they're not doing it. They're not being preventative."
Executive director, Girl Fest
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Students and faculty of the University of Hawaii gathered yesterday during a Girl Fest rally to urge more campus security and awareness against rape. Pictured in front are professors Cynthia Franklin, left, and Laura Lyons, with students Mia Najor and Emily Anuhea Ahsoon.
Protest for safety
Demonstrators demand the UH-Manoa
leadership do more to prevent sex assaults
University of Hawaii interim President David McClain agreed with demonstrators yesterday who said school officials need to do more to prevent rapes at the Manoa campus.
"I, personally, and my administration is 100 percent behind our efforts to make this a rape-free zone," McClain told the crowd of about 50 demonstrators.
Girl Fest Hawaii, whose aim is to prevent violence against women, organized the demonstration after three reported rapes near the UH-Manoa campus last month.
"They have to effect change and they're not doing it," said Kathryn Xian, Girl Fest executive director. "They're not being preventative."
Honolulu police have arrested and charged a suspect in a March 12 rape of an 85-year-old woman in her Old Waialae Road apartment and a suspect in a March 23 hijack and rape of a 38-year-old woman in her parked vehicle at the Manoa Innovation Center on Woodlawn Drive.
Police are still looking for the suspects in an alleged abduction and gang rape of an 18-year-old Kapiolani Community College student March 28. The woman told police she was walking to her off-campus dormitory at night after having dinner at Volcano Joe's on University Avenue when five men in a vehicle abducted her. She told police several of the men raped her and then dropped her off at a dormitory on the UH-Manoa campus.
Girl Fest Hawaii and its supporters are demanding university officials immediately notify Honolulu police if a rape on campus is witnessed or reported or if a perpetrator is detained.
They are also demanding a 30-percent increase in dawn-to-dusk security on campus, a 24-hour security escort service and mandatory classes for educators and coaches on anti-sexist methods of teaching and training students and athletes.
McClain said the university reports all crimes to Honolulu police, has more security at night than during the day, already has a 24-hour security escort service and has emergency telephones all over the campus.
Xian said those measures "are flimsy at best. They're not good enough. (The Manoa) campus, it's obvious, is rape-prone."
She said you can walk around the campus at night and not see any security officers. She also said not enough students know the number to the escort service, and half the emergency telephones do not work.
UH Security Chief Capt. Donald Dawson said the claim that half of the emergency phones do not work is "garbage." He said the telephones and their overhead lights are tested every other week.
McClain said the university is asking state lawmakers for a $1 million increase to its upcoming biennium budget to beef up security at all campuses. Manoa would get $480,000 of that.
And he said he will require all university employees under his direct control to attend anti-sexist training and that he will work with the public worker unions on training for employees covered by collective bargaining agreements.
Senior Stefanie Sullivan said she thinks the campus could use more security. She said she does not feel safe when she has to walk to the upper campus from the dormitories alone at night, but has never used the security escort service.
"I didn't know there was an escort service," Sullivan said. "What do you do, call security for it?"
Anyone can call UH Campus Security at 956-8211 or by picking up one of the 70 emergency telephones for an escort to anywhere on campus or outlying areas.
Freshman Judy Son said she feels safe on campus even at night.
"I'm usually not alone," she said, "and I think there are enough of those (emergency) telephones."
Xian said there are things students can do to lower their risk of sexual assault.
"The best thing that students can do is be aware of their surroundings. Don't overdrink. And be with people that you trust. Even then it's always a risk."