SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Sexual assault awareness is an important issue every college campus deals with. That's the message from some local students who say UC Santa Cruz isn't doing enough to manage the problem.
On Wednesday we met up with those students to discuss what they're fighting to accomplish. Several UC Santa Cruz students are asking the university to hire two additional sex assault counselors on campus. They say there are not enough resources for victims, and so far the they don't believe the university is validating their concerns.
"Sexual assault is incredibly prevalent on college campuses," said UCSC student Marley Lix-Jones. "There's no way at least as woman that you can go to college without experiencing or knowing people who have experienced sexual assault."
Lix-Jones said she's not been a victim herself. But she said she knows people who've been sexually assaulted and hit a dead end when they reported the information on campus.
"Either didn't have the resources or didn't get adequate counseling," Lix-Jones said.
So Marley and several of her friends started an online petition a few weeks ago, requesting that the university hire more advocates to help with prevention and counseling. Right now, they said, there are only two counselors for a campus of 16,000.
More than 1,100 people have signed the petition supporting their demands. Those demands included action from UCSC on the issue and hiring at least one advocate by the end this year. They had a meeting set up with Associate Vice Chancellor Dean of Students Alma Sifuentes, which they said was canceled last minute.
"We spent weeks and weeks and weeks and hours trying to compile information and facts for this meeting," said UCSC student Paige Morehead.
These students said they got a phone call from the office, saying they're going to try to reschedule. But at this point, they'd rather see the university just take action.
"Updating everyone on the response from the administration and their inability to meet with us and what I think what we view as a mistreatment of the cause," said UCSC student Jacob Davis.
Central Coast News also called the Dean of Students office to get a response on the issue. That office referred us to campus communications and we're still waiting to hear back.