Alumni of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE’s (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign are requesting a meeting with the senator and his advisers to discuss the issue of “sexual violence” on his 2016 campaign, according to a new Politico report.
“We the undersigned request a meeting with Senator Sanders and his leadership team to discuss the issue of sexual violence and harassment on the 2016 campaign, for the purpose of planning to mitigate the issue in the upcoming presidential cycle – in the primary and potential general election campaigns,” the group of more than two dozen people wrote, according to a letter obtained by Politico.
They confirmed to the outlet that they sent the letter to Sanders on Sunday.
Sanders has said publicly multiple times that he is considering a bid for the presidency in 2020.
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The letter does not specify instances of sexual violence and harassment from the previous presidential campaign.
Some of the signatories told Politico that they felt the issue was not the Sanders campaigns, but rather a culture of toxic masculinity on campaigns in general.
“This letter is just a start,” one of the organizers told Politico. “We are addressing what happened on the Bernie campaign but as people that work in this space we see that all campaigns are extremely dangerous to women and marginalized people and we are attempting to fix that.”
The letter says that there have been “ongoing conversation on social media, in texts, and in person, about the untenable and dangerous dynamic that developed during our campaign.”
They called for a meeting with Sanders in which they would set the agenda. They also requested that Sanders’ top advisers come up with a follow-up plan after the meeting outlining concrete sexual harassment and violence policies.
Sanders’s campaign committee, Friends of Bernie Sanders, in a statement emphasized the privacy of the signees and called the discussion “incredibly important.”
“We thank the signers of the letter for their willingness to engage in this incredibly important discussion,” the committee said in the statement. “We always welcome hearing the experiences and views of our former staff. We also value their right to come to us in a private way so their confidences and privacy are respected. And we will honor this principle with respect to this private letter.”
“Speaking generally, during 2016 there were a number of HR actions taken, and while it is not appropriate to discuss them individually, they ranged from employee counseling to immediate termination from the campaign,” the statement adds. “We share in the urgency for all of us to do better.”