By Phoebe Suy | Staff Writer
As many as 20,000 sexual assault forensic exams, known as rape kits, lie untested in forensic labs across Texas, but hopefully not for long. The Noble NoZe Brotherhood initiated a fundraiser Tuesday to support the testing of rape kits by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The NoZe Brothers are selling “Make Baylor Great Again” hats for $20 each. One hundred percent of sales will go to crime labs that conduct testing for rape kits. The Brothers also set up a GoFundMe campaign, “Help NoZe Bros End Rape Kit Backlog,” for those who may not want to purchase a hat. In one day, the campaign has raised over $1,500.
Hats can be purchased through the group’s Venmo, @NoZeBrotherhood, cash or check and must be pre-ordered by Oct. 5. The final deadline for collecting funds is homecoming, Oct. 21.
“We want to make it really clear to the Baylor community that we’re not just a bunch of clowns and that we don’t simply just stir things up just for the sake of stirring them up,” Brother She Wears Short Skirts, I Wear Noze Shirts said. “We’d like to think that we’re genuinely bringing light to real problems that really have no partisan stance to them at all.”
The Brothers said they want to clarify the hats do not constitute a political stance.
Brother Noze Thugs-In-Harmony said when people think about iconic hats in 2017, they think “Make America Great Again.” He said the motto doesn’t necessarily denote a specific time in American history, but rather specific values.
“I think that’s what we’re getting at here with Baylor,” Noze Thugs-In-Harmony said. “We don’t have a specific time when Baylor was great, but we do have a specific idea of what Baylor should be when it’s great. That’s somewhere that owns up to its mistakes, somewhere that acknowledges things, somewhere that is honest with itself and with its students.”
The NoZe Brothers said they have been considering the idea for a year, ever since their “sweeping it under the rug” homecoming float. This float took a fairly literal stance on how they believed Baylor was attempting to sweep Title IX media under the rug. They said students’ reaction to their float revealed the student body was concerned and well-informed on the issue, and that they would be receptive to something like this.
“For a long time our group has been centered on bringing issues to light but not offering solutions,” Noze Thugs-In-Harmony said.
Known for their satire and nonsense, the NoZe Brothers have a reputation of poking fun at Baylor and the administration. In November 2016 the NoZe Brothers posted the “NoZe 9.5 Theses” at Waco Hall, a banner that called out former head football coach Art Briles and the Board of Regents for the way they handled sexual assault cases at the university.
“There is a lot being said in the media about Baylor and what it means to go here and to be a student here, but I think nothing speaks louder than action,” Brother San Annozeio said. “This is a chance for Baylor students to really show what we’re made of, to step up to the plate and help victims.”
The Brothers said their fundraiser is a reinforcement of changes and ideas from campus leaders such as Fort Worth senior Caroline Grace with “It’s On Us,” San Antonio senior Paige Hardy in student government and Baylor Feminists, now known as Waco Area Feminists, leader Arlington senior Sierra Smith.
“We know that change is really slow and gradual but at a certain point it’s got to give, sometimes you’ve got to give change a kick swift in the pants. This is our way of doing that,” Thugs-In-Harmony said. “We’re not against the administration. We don’t want this to be misconstrued as ‘you have to fix this.’ We want this to be something where it’s like, we have to fix this as a university, as Baylor students, as faculty and staff.”
In Spring 2017, Student Senate passed a bill, authored by Hardy, proposing Baylor provide a state-certified SANE nurse at the Health Center.
Dr. Martha Lou Scott, Associate Vice President for Student Life, said the university is reviewing what it would take to have a certified examiner on campus. They are in communication with resources in the community such as the Waco Advocacy Center.
“What we want is the best available care for our students. That’s the bottom line,” Scott said.
Scott has been at Baylor for 46 years and says Baylor is better now than it has been in the past.
“In earlier times, these are things that would have never been talked about, especially at a faith-based school,” Scott said. “The fact that it’s discussed and that students know there are people here who care and are willing to help makes a world of a difference.”