Fanshawe to ‘take back’ its campus after sexual violence threats

Fanshawe College at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd in London. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Days after anonymous online threats of sexual violence were directed at Fanshawe College students, the post secondary institution is hosting a “take back our campus” event.

Students and staff will gather at Merlin Field at 4 p.m. on Monday for the rally which will include speeches and a march.

“We know this is short notice but it is important to come together during a time like this to show that we are stronger together, we won’t tolerate any form of sexual violence, and that we believe and support survivors,” Fanshawe’s Sexual Violence Prevention team and the Fanshawe Student Union said in a statement posted to the college’s Facebook page.

The event was planned after posts to the social media platform Discord threatened that students would be drugged and sexually assaulted at the school. The post alluded to drinks being tampered with at the Outback Shack on-campus restaurant and bar and the Oasis cafeteria.

The college and London police are investigating the threats which included sexually aggressive language.

Fanshawe’s sexual violence prevention advisor held drop-in support sessions for students last Thursday.

Monday’s rally will begin with sign making, followed by a meet and greet with campus and community gender-based violence service providers, followed by speeches and the march on campus. The event will end with pizza and drinks at the field. Mask and social distancing rules will be enforced and those coming to campus are asked to complete COVID-19 screening via the Fanshawe Stay Safe app.

A similar rally against on-campus gender-based and sexual violence at Western University on Friday drew nearly 10,000 people.