1. Media Artifact
Link to media artifact(s) giving background on the issue. Please list the title of the artifact(s) and then make the title(s) a link to the page in the MSC site where the artifact has been posted. You may include media artifacts made by other MSC members, if relevant, even if they are not authors of this proposal.
2. Persona and POV statement
In a sorority on campus
In her free time, loves to draw
- student studying business
Wants to work at a bank in Chicago after graduation
Plans to get married and have two children before the age of 35
- Wants to volunteer with children
- User (be specific and use empathetic language, e.g., Karla, a busy and high achieving high school student…):
Amanda, a student at the University of Michigan
- Need (identifies a need that is meaningful and includes feelings, e.g. …needs a way to feel less stress at school…):
…needs help dealing with her trauma symptoms...
- Insight (incorporates your observations; often unexpected, …because there is a lot of chaos in her life and she wants to feel more calm, peace, and mindfulness in her day.): …because she leads a very hectic life and is often eating on the run, with little time to buy or prepare fresh food.
Amanda is a busy college student dealing with the stress and peer pressure of greek life who has faced sexual assault on her campus. She needs adequate support and resources from her institution because she needs to be able to heal and feel safe again in school.
3. Potential Solutions:
Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.
SOLUTION 1: Fraternities and sororities on campus should be thoroughly examined. The school authorities should not turn a blind eye to the staggering statistics on the sexual assault rates in greek life. The correlation is astronomical. Questions needs to be asked, reports need to be addressed and the school needs to take its presence more seriously. For example, college campuses should require students in greek life to go through a a mandatory workshop one or twice a year. This workshop will pair fraternities and sororities together and facilitate discussion about sexual assault. Students will be paired off into smaller cohorts or concentration groups where they will talk with one another about how they would define sexual assault and possible solutions that they can think of to this problem. After this, the licensed professionals in this field will give a presentation on the exact definition of sexual assault, its causes, implications, and everlasting consequences that it can instill in a person. After this workshop, students must be required to fill out a survey based on their experience and write a response on how their views of sexual assault has changed and how they will change their actions that could possibly get them into these situations going forward. In conjunction to this, there must be mental health check ins and examinations for each member in greek life. Though thus may seem strenuous, it must be done to prevent and help future victims of sexual abuse.
SOLUTION 2: The University of Michigan has recently revised its student sexual misconduct policy to include an in-person hearing where students involved in sexual misconduct investigations can ask questions of each other and witnesses. This revision was in order to adhere to a recent Circuit Court ruling saying “a public university must give accused students an in-person hearing where they or their adviser can cross-examine the accuser and witnesses.” What this means for survivors is a situation that subjects them to a potentially traumatic line of questioning that can lead to underreporting and a hostile campus environment. A solution to this problem would be to rescind this interim policy and adopt a policy that complies with Title IX and due process by providing for cross-examination by trained individuals, rather than the accused themselves.
Survivors often report feelings of shame, depression, or isolation after experiencing sexual assault. While schools are getting better at supporting victims by offering counseling and survivor support groups like those available at University of Michigan Ann Arbor, these efforts should be mandated across the state. Another way to make the process less traumatic is to make sure every campus health center is equipped with Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners that are trained to provide specialized care to victims, conduct forensic exams and give expert testimony if a case goes to trial.
BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH PROCESS
Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:
Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:
Undergraduate students in Michigan will feel so much safer and more encouraged to speak out if physically/sexually assaulted and more confident that they can both answer questions and be questioned by a third party professional, and not by the actual accuser or perpetrator, which can feel intimidating and threatening. It could have the power to help women open up and be vocal about their trauma and find healing. Being able to speak out and feel safe talking about this kind of an experience will also allow for the victim to feel safe enough to seek out external support and potentially find healing.
How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?
It is no secret that women in universities are often the victims of sexual assault during their undrgraduate years, and particularly at large, state universities where greek life is predominant. This is a common occurrence women discuss all of the time.
How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?
I believe that the service activity of connecting with victims of sexual assault and being able to listen to them and share my regret that they are experiencing or have experienced such abuse in their young lives, helps to understand how empowering it could be for undergraduate victims of sexual assault to confront their perpeetrators and stand up for themselves with the help of a professional advocate. So many need to let the issue go and process it in order to find healing.
Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:
Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).
CONSULTATION 1: Stacey Armstrong- a long time worker and volunteer at Carehouse have immense experience working within the field of sexual abuse. She shared her thoughts on the path to justice and explained how intensive workshops can be the most proactive and effective for survivors and for people who should be informed on the topic. Making people more aware of sexual assault will help prevent future assaults through the subtle warning signs and actions seen in public, at parties, and in private scenarios. It is extremely important to be cautious and mindful of others around you.
CONSULTATION 2, 3: We have intensively emailed and reached out to other organizations regarding this proposal, however, with the recent outbreak with corona virus, we were not able to come in contact or here back. We are waiting on responses within the next week.
Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:
You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.
Stacey was very thrilled with our proposal. She saw the potential benefit a program or intensive workshop can inflict on a community such as greek life. Though this may not solve the problem to sexual assault, she said that this is a very good start on the way to preventing it. Awareness is key and having students walk through the shoes of victims and learn about the everlasting impacts an assault can leave on an individual is truly an effective way to help prevent sexual assault. Also brainstorming together and collaboration within these workshops can help the Greek Life community as a whole come up with better ways to address sexual assaults and rapes within their community.
Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit. In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.
Our research process consisted of continuous hours going through the Michigan laws that address sexual abuse and assault within college campuses. We talked to professionals and volunteers at Carehouse, CAPS, and are still planning on hearing back from a few more organizations before our proposal is finalized. Our proposal has changed many times because at the end of the day, rape will never fully be prevented but we can change the way that Universities respond, react and prevent future cases on college campuses within Michigan.
Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?
Carly: I contributed to the research process. I helped find exactly what we wanted to solve when it came to sexual assault on college campuses. I came up with the solution regarding creating mandatory a workshop for students within greek life on college campuses. It is no secret that there are staggering rates of sexual assault within the greek community due to excessive partying, drinking, and unsupervised encounters with those of the opposite sex. I researched and found the community service organization. I also created the infographic while Summer helped research the exact information that we were going to implement into it. Summer created the proposal document and reached out to organizations to find Topic Coordinators. She also helped with two of the solutions. Summer and I did a lot of give and take. We mostly did this entire project together and collaborated on almost everything so we had a clear vision of where we wanted to go regarding our solutions and how we would implement them into the proposal.
The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.
These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.
WHEREAS....female undergraduate students are being sexually assaulted in greek life environments
WHEREAS....undergraduates all over the state of Michigan are being sexually assaulted and made to remain silent about their abuse
WHEREAS....undergraduate students do not feel that they are supported by their undergraduate institutions and remain afraid to access the medical help and social emotional support and treatment they need.
WHEREEAS...the undergraduate student is afraid to report her perpetrator for fear of being questioned by her accuser and further intimidated and traumatized
(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)
These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED....
1.That the interim policy be rescinded.
2.That a policy that complies with Title IX and that due process be done by providing for cross-examination by trained individuals, rather than the accused themselves, be adopted
3.That another program be introduced onto university campuses mandating that all undergrads be required to receive training and that resources be developed to further raise awareness about sexual assault on college campuses and that these resources (or use of these resources) be mandated for students to repeat training each semester.
(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)
What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?
1. What does a defendant who is innocent do--in the case that an angry woman is making a false accusation?
2.There are already resources available. What if they continue to remain unused, either because of fear of backlash or shame about what happened.
3.If we have professionals representing the accused and the accuser, then it becomes much more difficult and cost prohibitive for people to really want to come forward to have this kind of hearing at all.
Costs and funding:
Social Workers: Depending on campus to campus, there is typically an average of 20 fraternities and 20 sororities on each college campus within Michigan, however, this will vary. The average mean of a social worker's payment per hour will be $40. As per our estimate, the workshop will take about 4 hours, so the total amount of money that the state will spend on their services will average at about $6,400 per college campus. In our research, we found a total of 9 universities within Michigan that have greek life on campus. That being said, the estimated total for all of the universities will be about $57,600 per year. If we did this workshop once a semester, it would add up to $115,200 per year.
What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from? Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?
If there is a loss in tax revenue, universities can pay for these workshops out of pocket. It could come out of the tuition of students or the dues within Greek life. Objections could come from students who are not apart of greek life, which would be our main issue with this proposal.
These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.
Marowski, Steve. “UM Students Hold Vigil for Sexual Assault Survivors: 'We Must Demand UMich Do Better'.” Mlive, 6 Feb. 2020, www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2020/02/um-students-hold-vigil-for-sexual-assault-survivors-we-must-demand-umich-do-better.html.
Slagter, Martin. “ACLU Calls on University of Michigan to Change Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.” Mlive, 5 Sept. 2019, www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2019/09/aclu-calls-on-university-of-michigan-to-change-student-sexual-assault-policy.html
Writers, Staff. “Sexual Assault Help for Students of All Ages.” AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org, AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org, 28 Feb. 2020, www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/sexual-assault-awareness-recovery/.
How Colleges Handle Sexual Assault in the #MeToo Era.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2018-10-01/how-colleges-handle-sexual-assault-in-the-metoo-era.