Student-led proposal aims to improve support for sexual assault survivors on campus

The proposal, presented to President Crow earlier this month, is currently at the center of University discussions

Students from organizations across ASU submitted a proposal requesting increased training and awareness for ASU staff and student organizations regarding sexual assault.

The student-led proposal, submitted earlier this month, aims to increase safety on campus by improving staff training on how to respond to reported cases of sexual assault.

The proposal requests more intensive regulations on student organizations to assure that they are in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.

The proposal also calls for a resolution to include actions such as mandatory monthly training regarding sexual violence for advisers and advising teams as well as training and presentations for student organizations on how to define and prevent sexual violence.

Though ASU currently offers a variety of reporting options and educational programs, the proposal requests "an internal investigation within the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, alongside a Title IX Investigation."

Edward Chappell III, a senior majoring in forensic science and president of Lambda Xi Chapter, worked on the proposal and said it aims to especially help black students at ASU. He said they eventually hope to expand the proposal to other colleges.

“Sexual assault is prevalent on campuses across the country, and there’s a culture that’s formed where the assault victims are blamed a lot of the time,” he said. “If we can make things safer in black communities, it will affect other communities as well — sexual assault affects all of us.” 

Although a majority of sexual assaults are reported by white women, black women are disproportionately sexually assaulted compared to other races, according to the End Rape on Campus website.

Chappell said that he has had several conversations with ASU staff regarding the the proposal since it was presented during an April 1 student forum with President Michael Crow.

“They’re super serious," he said. "It’s just a matter of how they want to see change happen and how we want to see change. I see it changing. It’s going to take time, but it’s something you have to implement.” 

Media relations officer Herminia Rincon said student input is always welcome and that discussions regarding the proposal will continue through the summer.

“We want to remind students that if they are experiencing any type of difficulty or are not getting satisfactory support, we encourage them to reach out to the Dean of Students Office,” she said. 

Jalen Porter, a senior studying political science and justice studies, also worked on the proposal. He said he hopes that University faculty will become a better resource for students in the future.  

“I know a lot of survivors and from what they’ve felt comfortable telling me, the student office was not very helpful,” Porter said. “As a resource, ASU isn’t living up to giving the students what they need, and that needs to be addressed.” 

Porter said creating a victim-supportive environment is something that could greatly assist in the healing process. 

Students who worked on the proposal reached out to other groups on campus such as sororities for input before they presented the final result. 

Jasmine Lester, the founding director of Sun Devils Against Sexual Assault, said that extra sensitivity training, among other steps, would greatly benefit ASU students.

"My experience as a queer, black, sexual harassment victim was made more hostile by racism and homophobia," Lester said. "ASU doesn't provide enough services for marginalized students who are at most risk for sexual assault." 

Micah Bledsoe, a graduate student studying mass communication, contributed to the proposal and said  it could lead to an increase of inclusivity on campus. 

“ASU talks a lot about how inclusive we are and how we have all of these different races, ethnicities, resources and opportunities, but it doesn’t always feel that way,” she said. “Along with safety and how ASU handles sexual assault, the proposal also talks about following procedures that should make ASU a safe and fair place for everyone.”

She said the proposal, if implemented, could impact more than just current students. 

“When it comes to safety and feeling comfortable on campus, I think the proposal could help a lot of people,” she said. “These are all things we want in place for future generations at ASU.” 


Reach the reporter at kreinha3@asu.edu and follow @ReinhartKatelyn on Twitter.

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