Jun 02, 2014
Known as a leader in the prevention and response to sexualized violence on college campuses, the Humboldt State University Sexual Assault Prevention Committee’s work has been recognized for its excellence by the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.
Directives in a new report released by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault are consistent with SAPC’s long-established program. The report details four critical steps toward ending sexualized violence: 1. Identifying the scope of the problem on college campuses; 2. Helping prevent campus sexual assault; 3. Helping schools respond effectively when a student is assaulted; 4. Improving and making more transparent the federal government’s enforcement efforts.
“We were very excited to see that the recommendations of the task force confirmed the path we have been taking to address this pervasive issue of sexual violence on campus,” said Kim Berry, co-chair of SAPC. “We’ve worked on all fronts they identify as crucial to addressing the issue: gathering data on campus rates of violence, strengthening our capacity to hold those who harm others accountable through the student conduct system and with campus law enforcement, building models for response that place victim/survivors’ needs at the center of our support for them, and creating a comprehensive and groundbreaking prevention education program.”
Cooperative efforts with community groups led to SAPC being invited by the OVW to present on its coordinated community response team at the National Technical Institute for Grant Funded Programs, scheduled for June 12-16 in Atlanta, Georgia. Its longstanding partnership with North Coast Rape Crisis Team is being heralded as best practice for other campuses addressing sexual violence.
Attending the workshop will be SAPC co-chair and HSU communications professor Maxwell Schnurer, HSU police chief Lynn Soderburg, and North Coast Rape Crisis Team representative Paula Arrowsmith-Jones.
“We’re incredibly fortunate to have community organizations that offer 24-hour support for our campus and the broader community,” said Schnurer. “Their expertise has helped us all to build a campus model that places the responsibility for the harm on those who choose to commit acts of violence, while also supporting survivors as they chart their path of healing.”
In October of 2013 HSU was awarded a highly competitive $250,000 Campus grant from the OVW. This funding made it possible for the SAPC to expand its work to create a comprehensive sexual violence prevention and response program on campus.
CHECK IT, HSU’s student-led sexual assault, dating violence and stalking prevention program is receiving accolades as well. The CHECK IT team was recently named Program of the Year at the National Residence Hall Honorary Awards Ceremony at HSU. In addition, Humboldt State DOJ grant-funded prevention coordinator Mary Sue Savage recently received the CSU Alcohol and other Drug Committee’s Violence Prevention Champion Award.
“Students from across campus have creatively brought CHECK IT to life, empowering our campus community to see the active role they can play in violence prevention and the difference their individual and collective actions make,” Savage said. “Through creative outreach, student-to-student networking, and skill-building workshops we believe CHECK IT has the ability to engage our entire campus community and become strongly embedded within the culture of HSU.”
“I think if everyone CHECKs it and checks themselves we can create a new social standard in which perpetrators of violence are held accountable and individuals can feel safer and supported in our communities,” said Shannon Deputy, a peer educator and senior at HSU. “One person can make a difference but together we can change culture.”
HSU’s Sexual Assault Prevention Committee is comprised of faculty, staff, students, law enforcement, and community partners, including advocates from the North Coast Rape Crisis Team, Humboldt Domestic Violence Services, and the Humboldt Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. The SAPC is working toward eliminating rape and all forms of sexualized violence. Committee members work within a survivor-centered framework to prioritize the healing and safety of the survivor.
For more information, please visit http://www.humboldt.edu/stoprape/
To learn more about The HSU Sexual Assault Prevention Committee, please contact:
Elias Pence, Project Coordinator
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, intimate partner violence or stalking and need support, you can call:
North Coast Rape Crisis Team 24 hour hotline: (707) 445-2881
Humboldt Domestic Violence Services: (707) 443-6042