Students Hold Protest of Brett Kavanaugh and Sexual Assault at Brower
By Aviv Khavich
Students and faculty gathered late Wednesday evening in front of Brower Commons to protest Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, as well as sexual assault and harassment at Rutgers.
A crowd of approximately fifty people convened on the steps of the dining hall on October 3rd, many holding signs. The protests seemed to be organized on short notice by students, with no Facebook event preceding its occurrence.
Students and representatives from Rutgers’ Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance (VPVA) office, including its assistant director, as well as the student-run advocacy group Rutgers NO MORE, gathered to share stories of sexual assault on campus as well as opine about recent events concerning sexual assault allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. They held megaphones and chanted loudly.
The protest also came on the heels of a recent announcement by Rutgers that it would be “investigating all sexual harassment complaints, including those more than two years old”, according to NJ.com. This change came largely as a result of accusations by NJ.com in an exposé detailing alleged sexual harassment by a Professor Stephen Bronner of the political science department. Bronner was accused of having “ran his hand” over women’s thighs in twenty-year-old allegations, among other complaints. He has denied the incident in full.
Despite the change by Rutgers, protesters expressed great dissatisfaction with the way the administration has been handling the accusations, erupting in chants of “FUCK PRESIDENT BARCHI”.
These chants came alongside many students sharing personal stories of sexual assault and rape, as well as enraged rants against the Trump administration and Judge Kavanaugh, who were treated with repeated yells of “SHAME”, and calls to hold the government accountable for “upholding of patriarchal, racist, and sexist practices”. Signs held by protesters displayed messages such as “FUCK KAVANAUGH” and “I BELIEVE YOU”, which were also featured in many of the chants. The allegations against Judge Kavanaugh remain uncorroborated by any of the witnesses named by his accuser, Professor Christine Blasey Ford.
The crowd was heckled on several occasions by passersby, among them students yelling phrases like “Confirm Kavanaugh” and “Trump 2020”, garnering verbal attacks from the protesters in response.
It remains unclear if Rutgers NO MORE and VPVA endorse the messages expressed in these protests.