Sexual Assault on College Campuses, It could happen to you

PRE-PROPOSAL 1. Media Artifact

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

Sexual Assault On College Campuses Newspaper Article 
 
2. Persona and POV statement Persona: Persona name: Claire Roberts Age: 19  School/occupation: Univ. of Michigan, Full time student and works part time at Starbucks  Location: Ann Arbor, MI   Quote: "I'm stressed out with school, hopefully my boss let's me leave an hour early today"   About:
  • Is in the school of education, studying to be a teacher 
  • Either walks or takes the bus to school/work everyday because lives 30 mins off campus due to high campus apartment rates
  • From outside of Ann Arbor, has no nearby relatives 
Goals:
  • Find time for herself in the midst of a hectic school and work schedule 
  • Save up money to move onto campus 
  • Become more involved in the Ann Arbor community 

 

POV Statement:
  • User: Claire is a hard working first semester sophomore, dedicated to her studies but also passionate about her work. She is looking to find more time for herself - whether that means relaxing or spending time with friends in order to ease her anxiety. 
  • Need: Claire needs to find a way to feel safer getting to/from campus whether it be an early morning shift or late night studying. Often times she doesn't feel safe when walking alone and is looking for friends to walk with or even someone to check in with when she arrives home. 
  • Insight: Claire needs to feel safe so that she stops isolating herself from strangers and becomes more actively involved in the community. She is hesistant due to the horror stories she has heard about sexual assaults on campuses and the constant DPSS alerts filling up her email. Already suffering from anxiety and living a hectic life, she needs a way to make getting around safer in order to ease her fears and allow her to reach her full potential. 
 

 

3. Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

SOLUTION 1: There could be a program put together that allows students who live off campus but near each other connnect and find times to walk home together. Claire could also begin using the SafeRide program that Univ. of Michigan has created, that allows students to use the service once per evening and be picked up from any university building. 

SOLUTION 2: Ann Arbor could work to make on camus housing more affordable so that less students are forced to live off campus. By developing for affordable student housing, or plans for the student to pay it, Ann Arbor could eliminate Claire's fears of walking so far off campus alone - and also the threat of dooming student loans, and with that the pressure to work so many hours while managing her school work. 

SOLUTION 3: The University could implement a program that directly addresses sexual violence to all incoming students, since freshman females, transfgander, genderqueen, and nonconforming teens are more prone to sexual assault during this time between the start of fall semester and Thanksgiving break. Though Michigan already has programs like Relationship Remix, it does not have a campus sexual violence prevention program that trains young students to rebuff these unwanted sexual advances and the effects that alcohol can have on one's behavior. It also could teach students the "bystander intervention" training as a prevention method. 

 

BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH PROCESS Context

Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal: House Bill 4830, which designates that an appointed advocacy official of higher education offices must advocate for students who may be victims of sexual assaults commited on the campuses of the instituions, or at programs/events sponsored by the institution. It also requires that this advocacy official coordinates efforts to identify campus sexual assault in order to help remove barriers that victims face when receving helping services and reporting. 

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: This proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages attending college-level universities across Michigan because it addresses the underlying issues associated with sexual assault on college campuses. The requirement of creating an educational plan regarding sexual assault, increasing funding for sexual assault prevention programs, and bringing outside experts in to train faculty on dealing with issues of this matter will all help to minimize the threat of sexual assaults taking place on the college campus. 

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal? I learned about the issues underlying my proposal through online research and visiting the SAPAC office located at the University of Michigan. Websites such as the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, have guided my learning on this topic. 

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal? My service activity was Meals on Wheels, and although it does not directly relate to preventing sexual assault on college campuses, I got a sense of the community and realized how dangerous walking alone around various parts of the area are. 

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

Sexual Assault on College Campuses - Newspaper Article 

Consultations

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: A sexual assault survivor, who asked to remain anonymous, had special insight about this topic and played a large part in my proposal. She specifically pointed out the lack of prevention her school had regarding sexual assault. Their prevention program was attendance optional, took place at various times throughout the school year, and was more of a "teaching girls what not to do" rather than exploring other forms of prevention. This is why I specifically want the state of Michigan to require universities to utilize a plan of education (formulated by multiple people, including survivors and experts) that is implemented within a student's first few weeks of school and is attendance required. 

CONSULTATION 2: After consulting with a Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) counselor about the number of students meeting with her to discuss sexual assaults that they have survived, or have helped a friend cope with, I learned that this issue is as real as the statistics tell. The counselor could not give away any identifying information, but she was able to tell me that more than half of her clients (before and while working at CAPS) have experienced some form of sexual assault. She also stated that most of these experiences did take place on or near a college campus - and occured usually when the individual was alone late at night. This made me consider the idea of having each university set up a program where students can meet up and walk to their residences safetely, if located near each other. 

CONSULTATION 3: Although I could not get in direct contact with Dr. Elizabeth L. Jeglic, a professor of Psychology and Sexual Violence Prevention, I did get in touch with someone who works in her office. This individual was happy to explain to me the difficulties of installing these programs in a higher education facility. He said that due to the costs, staff requirements and general lack of interest from students, it is hard to get these programs set in stone. This is why I included increased funding for sexual assualt prevention programs in my proposal. With more money comes the ability to better promote these programs, through social media and in person, and allows universities to higher experts who have interesting insights on the topic to talk to students and engage them. 

 

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.

Jenna Kravitz, a topic coordinator, commented on my rough draft of this proposal pointing out that I needed to address why solutions that already exist, like SafeRide, are underutilized. This program exists so that students do not have to walk home alone late at night, but I think that people are hesitant to use it for many reasons. First of all, you can only use the servive one time per night and wait times often exceed 30-40 minutes. Secondly, after 2 AM, riders have to be at the Shaprio Undergraduate Library, Duderstadt Center, or the Cancer Center in order to be picked up. Most students are not studying at one of these three places, and walking alone to be picked up there is dangerous in itself. The Emergency Ride Home service can only be used six times per year, which may cause students to be hesistant about using it in case there comes a time when they need it later. In order to make these programs more utilized, I think the university needs to promote them more and make them more accessible. I also think that they could add some frequented study spots to their list of pick up destinations. 

Research process:

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.

My research process was a lengthy, but interesting one. I began by online researching my topic, then spoke to consultants. I also spoke to friends about if they feel safe on campus, and ways that would make them feel more safe and less vulnerable to assault. I spoke to people from a variety of universities, and learned about their sexual assault programs and how they get everybody to attend. When I first began this research, my thinking was very closed minded and I assumed that this was an issue that rarely occurs. Over time, I began to realize the severity of this issue and became personally attached to finding solutions. After speaking with my consultants, especially the survivor of an on campus sexual assault, I realized the lack of attention this issue receives and began to explore various solutions. From speaking with this survivor, I learned that this is something an individual has to live with for the rest of their lives - and without the proper support and resources - it can be detrimental to their ability to thrive. I came to a couple dead ends across my research. I was trying to find solutions to minimize the cost of on campus housing - but then realized that this was a whole other issue in itself and that I would have to craft another proposal just to find solutions for it. 

Author contributions:

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.?

I worked alone with this proposal.

FORMAL PROPOSAL

The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS.... 84% of the women who reported a sexually coercive experience to the police experienced the incident within their first four semesters on campus. 

WHEREAS.... Students living in dormitories are 1.4 times more likely to be raped than students living off campus. Female students living in sorority houses are 3 times more likely to be raped. 

WHEREAS.... Around 1 in 5 women are the targets of targeted or completed sexual assault while they are college students. 

WHEREAS... Out of all undergraduate and graduate students, 11.2% of all students experience sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation. 

(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

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. Require the state of Michigan to create a plan of education regarding sexual assault on college campuses, to be implemented at each university in the state within the students first weeks on campus. Along with this, providing additional seminars each year so that students are constantly reminded. 

2. Increase funding for sexual assault prevention programs across campuses in Michigan. 

3. Bring outside experts on preventing sexual assault to college campuses to train faculty and staff to become more responsive and aware of sexual assault on their respective campuses. 

4. Require each campus to hold bystander intervention sessions. 

5. Require each campus create a program where students who live off-campus can walk home together early in the morning or late at night. 

(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)

Counter-arguments:

What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. It is almost impossible to require students at every college campus in Michigan to attend educational programs regarding sexual assault. 

2. People may argue that there are already prevention programs in place and solutions to having to walk home alone. 

3. Funding is limited, and for smaller campuses it may be hard to raise the required amount of money to initiate these programs. 

Costs and funding:

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)?  

It is hard to calculate the exact cost. 22 colleges across Michigan just recently received  $1 million in funding to prevent campus sexual assault. Each university could use their portion to implement the above solutions. Advocates could also apply to the Department of Justice's Office of Violence against Women grant. If 5 or more campuses come together to apply, they could receive up to $750,000 to use. University faculty and students who are working towards another major issue, such as global warming or hunger, may object to any of the school's extra funds being used to support this cause instead of their own. 

References:

These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.


http://changingourcampus.org/campus-program/apply-for-campus-grant/

https://www.rainn.org/statistics/campus-sexual-violence

https://www.michigan.gov/campussexualassault/0,8993,7-357-82181---,00.html

https://sapac.umich.edu/article/192

https://www.campussafetymagazine.com/safety/sexual-assault-statistics-and-myths/

https://www.womenshealth.gov/relationships-and-safety/sexual-assault-and-rape/college-sexual-assault

https://www.nsvrc.org/about-sexual-assault

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2019-2020/billintroduced/House/pdf/2019-HIB-4380.pdf

https://deanofstudents.umich.edu/article/late-night-transportation

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Total votes: 25

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