December 31, 1969 · Take Back the Archive

Emily Renda, '14, former president of what is now One Less; video interview

Interview with Emily Renda, spring 2015, about her role in and observations of student advocacy and administrative response in the aftermath of the November 2014 "Rolling Stone" article, "A Rape on Campus."


Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 5.51.33 PM.png
Niki Afsar and Tierney Vial
Take Back the Archive
Academic year 2014-2015
Video, 22:54 minutes
Emily Renda, UVA ’14
Former president of both SALC (Sexual Assault Leadership Council), and SAFE (Sexual Assault Facts and Education), now One Less, an all-female sexual assault education group that advocates for survivors. Intern, Office of the President of UVA, 2014.
Interviewed spring 2015 by Tierney Vial and Niki Afsar, research assistants for Take Back the Archive

0:35 How has sexual assault advocacy changed during your time at UVa?
“Expansion of comfort level about speaking out” at annual Take Back the Night vigil is “emblematic” of changes: broader range of topics discussed (dating violence e.g.); gender of speakers; and number of people sharing their stories.

2:24 How have responses to sexual assault changed within the UVa community?
“Obviously not perfect, but slowly and surely making adjustments that are pulling us toward where we need to be.” For example, hiring of Prevention Coordinator; engagement of Honor community; and Pres. Theresa Sullivan’s imperfect but sincere responses. Despite “critiques for the emotionlessness of her emails,” Sullivan “has brought, frankly, a new sense of dedication to this issue.”

9:12 What advice do you have for students who want to get involved in sexual assault advocacy?
“Nuance. Nuance and understanding.”
“You should be looking to integrate” various points of view on prevention and response.
“For survivors who want to be advocates, I would say, it will be part of your healing process, and it can be very healing to help other people—but it can’t be everything.” [Renda is a survivor of sexual assault.]

12:27 What is a high priority area for improvement in UVa’s responses to sexual assault?
“Our prevention strategies can’t just focus on things like bystander intervention,” which is akin to pulling people out of the water right before they go over the waterfall. “It has to go upriver to people’s attitudes.”
“What we’re doing on college campuses is civil rights-based action, it’s not criminal law.” If we stick to a model of criminal law with “standards of proof,” we end up creating “defendant martyrs.”
“The problem in our community is that Honor is the endpoint. . . It’s screwing up our whole system. . . Mandatory expulsion kills reporting rates.”

19:14 Can you talk about your decision to stay and work at UVa after graduating?
“The opportunity to make sure we didn’t lose the momentum we had was really exciting. I think the results have been mixes.”

20:17 How do you plan to stay involved?
Policy, research, law school; “the structural and intellectual pieces.” “Maybe not as an advocate anymore. . . I did a lot of damage to myself [this year] by doing the kind of work that I did in the way that I did it.”
Tags , , ,
Date Added June 14, 2016
Date Modifed September 15, 2016
Collection Rolling Stone aftermath: video interviews with student leaders

Item Relations

This item has no relations.