POLITICS

Students At Elite Universities Use Red Tape To Stage Silent Protests At Commencement (PHOTOS)

06/16/2014 02:16 pm ET | Updated Jun 16, 2014

Many students saw this year's commencement season as a time for solidarity, and not necessarily celebration.

Students at elite universities across the United States decorated their caps and gowns in red tape to protest the handling of sexual assault cases on campus, with the latest example at Stanford University on Sunday:

The practice of using red tape to convey a message of discontent originated at Columbia University in the late 1990s. It was meant to symbolize the bureaucratic barriers students faced reporting sexual violence.

Since then, current Columbia students revived the red tape on campus and at their own commencement:

Other schools like Harvard, Brown and most recently Stanford followed suit. All of these universities are accused of mishandling sexual assault cases as well.

Across the pond, Oxford University donned white ribbons on their subfusc during exam period in a similar effort to stand against gendered violence.

They did so after Oxford students launched an It Happens Here Tumblr documenting the experiences of sexual violence survivors on campus. A number of American colleges, like Amherst College and Brandeis University in Massachusetts, and Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, have hosted similar blogs about sexual assault at their campuses over the past several years.

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