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Seton Hall students protest the University's response to sexual assault allegations during open house

Seton Hall students protested the University’s response to sexual assault allegations on the sidewalk across Farinella Gate during an open house Sunday.

The protest, organized by “Protecting Pirates,” a new group advocating for sexual assault survivors at Seton Hall, handed out flyers and teal pins for sexual assault awareness.

Some of the signs said “Seton Hall lets rapists work on campus” and “rapists should not be RAs.”

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The protest was sparked by several sexual assault allegations over the years. But the story of former student Emily Archibald, who shared on social media her experiences with the University’s response to her sexual assault allegation, ignited students to speak out.

Archibald, who said she transferred after a University official allegedly talked her out of pursuing a Title IX investigation into the man she accused of assaulting her, attended the protest.

Archibald entered campus with two of her friends to sit on a chair in foyer of Arts and Sciences Hall, a part of Seton Hall’s sexual assault and substance abuse preventation initiative KNOW MORE's “empty chair campaign” for sexual assault awareness month.

The KNOW MORE “empty chair campaign” set up chairs across campus each featuring a story from a survivor starting with the sentence “I am not on campus today because ... ”

Archibald carried a sign that said "I am on campus today because someone needs to stand up for survivors."

Then, she was asked to leave by a public safety officer who told her they had her on camera walking into campus.

Archibald said she wanted to take a picture of herself sitting on the empty chair to "show that I am on campus today and I am not afraid anymore."

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A source from the University said Archibald was escorted off campus because she did not have permission or a permit to protest on school grounds.

Archibald said she was told to leave campus by Vice President of Student Services Dr. Monica Burnette and two public safety officers.

The University spokesperson Laurie Pine said that all student demonstrations on University property needs prior authorization, according to the student protest policy.

"No student application was received for the April 24 demonstration," Pine said. "In addition, the policy states that participation is restricted to members of the University community. Public safety’s role is to ensure that all campus activities align with the University policy."

Two anonymous eyewitnesses at the scene said they saw a woman with two men in suits confront another woman telling her she had to leave campus because she was not allowed to protest on school grounds. The eyewitnesses were unable to identify whether it was Burnette. Dr. Burnette declined to be interviewed.

Pine did not confirm if Dr. Burnette was present when Archibald was asked to leave.

Alexander Nyce, a senior physics major, said he went to the protest to help promote change for Seton Hall students.

“I’m here to support Emily and all the other victims of Seton Hall that did not receive justice from their rapists,” Nyce said.

"I think that Seton Hall needs to do a better job of being more transparent about any sort of sexually based crimes on campus and needs to be. Just it needs to work harder at protecting its students and not the perpetrators," said a senior who requested to go by her first name, Lauren.

One recent graduate, who requested to go by her first name, Andrea, attended the protest, calling the University's response to Archibald's case "bull—-."

An anonymous source from Blue Crew, Seton Hall student ambassadors for the Office of Admission, told The Setonian that the Vice President for Enrollment Management Dr. Alyssa McCloud addressed the protest and Title IX at the open house that morning, saying that the University takes allegations seriously and is following all the legal procedures of Title IX.

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