Banners in Arts and Letters building upset DePaul student athletes

Several DePaul student athletes feel misrepresented and that the whole department’s reputation is tarnished following the sexual assault awareness banners hung on campus last week calling out the athletic department.

The DePaulia spoke to four student athletes who asked to remain anonymous and will be identified as Student Athlete One, Two, Three and Four for clarity.

“I just think it’s an overgeneralization, it paints everybody in a bad light when that’s not the case at all,” Student Athlete Two said. “By spreading it to all of these people I feel victimized by it … I’m supposedly in this department that is perpetuating rape culture when that’s not the case at all.”

“You can promote that rape culture is bad and try to stop rape, but don’t talk about the athletic department,” Student Athlete Three said. “The whole society is promoting rape culture, you need to address that, not just address one part, one athletic part.”

The two banners hung by an anonymous group, called DePaul Exposed, were up for about 20 minutes before they were removed by DePaul Public Safety because they violated policy, Public Safety Director Bob Wachowski said. The first sign said “DPU Athletics We Know What You Did #RapeCulture #YouCantHide!” while the second read “Things That Cause Rape” with multiple boxes and the word rapist checked.

DePaul Exposed issued a statement Friday, April 25 explaining their purpose.

“The purpose of this action was to bring light to the injustices being perpetuated at DePaul University, specifically the coverup of several sexual assaults on campus. Over the past few years, the university has demonstrated a level of selectivity when it comes to alerting students on these incidents,” they said.

One athlete said they didn’t feel completely comfortable walking around campus anymore. “I feel like people are judging me now as I walk around campus with my gear on,” Student Athlete Two said. “Even when we were sitting in (Brownstone’s) talking about it last night, this girl sitting at (a) computer moved away from us, like we’re criminals or something … it’s ridiculous.”

One athlete stressed that it is a privacy issue.

“I feel like the student body doesn’t really know enough about the situation and it’s like, we don’t either,” Student Athlete One said. “We’re pretty in the dark about it too, but it’s more of a privacy issue.”

The athletes said they now feel like the entire department and all the athletes are being accused.

“The way they even wrote the signs was attacking the whole program,” Student Athlete Two said. “Basically by someone overgeneralizing us as rape culture perpetuators, it’s ruining our reputation.”

The athletes all emphasized the added pressure and visibility of being a student athlete because “we represent the school,” Student Athlete Three said.

“Yeah, we work really hard. We work hard to secure our spot on the teams and get a scholarship and keep our GPAs where they need to be and follow all the rules and everything…it’s something we should be proud of,” Student Athlete Four said.

“I think we’re under a lot more pressure to be a good representation (of DePaul),” Student Athlete Two said. “We can’t act the same way other students can. It feels like we’re constantly being watched.”

These four student athletes aren’t the only ones, Student Athlete One said that they don’t like the reputation, while Student Athlete Three said they think “some people are really offended.”

They said one athlete who stopped by the Take Back The Night rally Thursday, April 24 to observe walked away crying.

“Yeah, she left crying because people were saying that they support rape culture,” Student Athlete Three said.

“We shouldn’t walk around campus saying, ‘I’m an athlete therefore I’m ashamed,'” Student Athlete Four said. “And that’s kind of what this is doing, shaming us.”