COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - Many current and former Texas A&M University students are coming forward with their stories of surviving sexual assaults while on the College Station campus.
The university was thrown into the spotlight last week after a student poster her experience and disgust with her experience after she claimed she was assaulted. That social media post has since been shared thousands of times. It's starting a conversation among those who have the unfortunate history of being assaulted.
Meghan Romere is a fourth generation Aggie. She just graduated in December, but in 2016 she said she was sexually assaulted. Former Aggie Football wide receiver Kirk Merritt was convicted of exposing himself to her and another student tutor. Romere said the university reclassified her assault as sexual harassment and her as a witness, not a victim.
"It stung that the university would value his career as a football player over my well being as a student," said Romere.
Ultimately, Merritt was kicked off the team and left the university. Now, as more stories of assault and survival emerge, Romere and other former students are rallying together. A Facebook group has been formed allowing other survivors to seek support and share their story. It's grown to several hundred members. For Romere, it's a validating place.
"To feel like,'wow, this happened to me too' and "I can relate to you' and 'this all happened to us in the same place'. Lets do something about it because we all love A&M," said Romere.
University president Michael Young wrote an open letter to the Aggie community, saying in part, he's listening. He's ordered a comprehensive review, both internally and externally, that will test every step in the process for safety, support, sensitivity, timeliness and fairness for all involved.
"We want them to know that we're serious and we're not going to back down until we see actual change," said Romere.
To that end, university officials have reached out to Romere and the group of survivors on Facebook with the idea that the two groups meet and discuss changes. No meeting has been set yet, but it's a start. One Romere hopes leads to measurable changes.
"A&M has a chance to be fearless on every front and to be fearless in the face of such horrible things that are happening to our victims," said Romere. She believes for that to happen, people must stand up.
"If we don't, we're just gonna be another Baylor and I don't want that for A&M."