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Sunday February 5th

Students urge UNC to provide drink testing strips on campus

<p>DTH Photo Illustration. DFSAs, or drug-facilitated sexual assaults, reportedly make up about 75% of all occurrences of sexual assault.&nbsp;</p>
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DTH Photo Illustration. DFSAs, or drug-facilitated sexual assaults, reportedly make up about 75% of all occurrences of sexual assault. 

Content warning: This article contains mentions of sexual abuse and rape. 

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Date rape is an ongoing issue on college campuses across the United States and abroad. Among undergraduate and graduate students in the U.S., 13 percent have reported being sexually assaulted. 

Three students at UNC, Tanner Stutts, Edda Yamada and Gavin George, have expressed concerns about the issue of date rape on campus. Together, they formed Students Against Date Rape, a coalition that aims to get UNC to provide rape-preventative measures, such as drink testing kits, free of charge to students.

A friend of George and Stutts had their drink tampered with earlier this year.

After realizing what happened, they preserved the drink in hopes of getting it tested to know what drug was used.

“Tanner and I went to the (campus) pharmacy to see if they had drink test strips, they didn't have anything,” George said. “They just had urine drug tests, which didn't test for GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate), Rohypnol or Ketamine.”

GHB, Rohypnol and Ketamine are some of the most common drugs used to tamper with someone’s drink. 

Stutts said after he and George went to the pharmacy, they went to Campus Health to try and find testing strips, with no luck there either. Following the lack of availability in the near vicinity, Stutts decided to create a petition asking UNC to provide drink testing strips free of charge to students. 

“Finding drink test strips is even hard online,” George said. “There's no place within walking distance or on campus that can provide them for you. So, you're kind of left in the dark, whether you've been poisoned or not.”

Currently, their petition has almost 1,400 signatures. Stutts said they hope to get thousands more to encourage the state to respond. 

Stutts said the “violent apathy” surrounding the topics of drugging and date rape is unacceptable.

“The amount that we have to push and fight is — I mean, I was expecting it, but I wasn't expecting it that much,” Stutts said. “It’s just such an absurd amount, which makes me very uncomfortable.”

The group passes out slips of paper around campus that read "Stop Date Rape" and include a QR code that links to the petition. 

The group said they have noticed that feminine-presenting individuals have been more likely to accept flyers and engage with their QR code than those who are more masculine-presenting. 

“What I can say is that I've just been frustrated noticing that it was mostly pretty much just females who were accepting the flyers and scanning them when we offered them, and there were a lot of guys that kind of just kept walking,” Yamada said, “As a female, I found that pretty disturbing.”

They said that if they are going to accomplish their goals, they need everyone’s help, not just one part of UNC’s population.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 63 percent of all sexual assaults go unreported. Preventative measures are very important to have available to students. Having these resources accessible to students at little to no cost is crucial to the support and resistance to date rape and sexual assault.

George, Stutts and Yamada said they have attempted to show Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz the petition and meet with him to discuss future plans for the movement, but so far have been unsuccessful. To be able to move forward with the petition, the students need to meet with Guskiewicz to plan further action against the issue on campus.

“I've sent him emails to no response, I have gone to the office,” Stutts said. “They told me that he's just gone, and that's extremely inappropriate and unprofessional.”

The group said they have attempted to contact different people and even different media outlets and have not heard anything back from either.

“This isn't over until we get what we need,” Stutts said.

@zoefrederick12

university@dailytarheel.com

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