Today: Jun 17, 2024

Student group forming to address sexual harassment on campus

Josh Falcone – General Assignment Reporter

Last Wednesday, Sept. 18, the Women’s Center in Schwartz Hall hosted the first meeting for a group “Students! Let’s Talk About IT!” which invited members of the campus community to discuss sexual harassment and sexual assault issues and awareness at Southern Connecticut State University.

The end event of this meeting was the creation of a new faction called Student Rights Awareness Group, which will focus on sexual harassment and sexual assault issues.

Southern junior Madison Breuer, who organized the event, said that getting as much awareness as possible on what sexual harassment and sexual assault and making Southern a more comfortable place to learn is the ultimate goal of this new group.

“The purpose will be to get student input and student involvement,” Breuer said. “And to get the information they need to them.”

“This would be a step forward in the fight against harassment,” Breuer said.

Breuer would also like to see changes in the university’s guidelines as well, she said.

“The university’s sexual harassment policy needs to be reformed,” Breuer said.

The group discussed maybe looking into starting an online program to educate current students and future students on what constitutes sexual harassment and sexual assault, and how to eliminate it from Southern.

Breuer said that the rights of people are being violated and there is so much more everyone on Southern’s campus can do to fight the harassment and assaults.

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“I think that by highlighting and spreading the awareness that rights are being violated, that that will force people to be like, ‘So what should I know?’ and this will lead them to look at what their rights are,” Breuer said.

Alicia DiVito, who was representing Student Government Association, said she thinks it would be a good idea for the peer mentors on campus go over their rights with students. It would be a very personal way to go about it as peer mentors are extremely close to the students.

Breuer said the group is looking to spread the message through different avenues on campus.

“The idea is to frame this group as a prevention group, and I think going to the peer mentors would be really, really great,” she said. “As peer mentors, I feel like that it gives you a stronger understanding of what sexual assault and sexual harassment is.”

Catherine Christy, coordinator from Women’s Center, agreed with Breuer.

“It would almost be like a peer to peer campaign,” Christy said.

The group can also continue to search out other ideas to educate the university on sexual harassment and sexual assault, Christy said.

“The website,” she said, “knowyourix.org, has some really good suggestions, on how to get active.”

According to the most recent numbers from the Office of Postsecondary Education, there were four forcible sexual offenses reported on the Southern Campus in 2009, two forcible sexual offenses reported in 2010, and four forcible sexual offenses reported in 2011.

“Students! Let’s Talk About IT!” will be having another meeting on Sept. 25 at the Women’s Center in Schwartz Hall at 1 p.m., anyone is welcome.

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