Spencer Solit's Media artifact

  Context

Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

 

The Clery Act is named after Jeanne Clery, a female student who on April 5, 1986, was raped and murdered in her dorm room by a fellow student. The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) is a federal law that requires colleges to report crimes that occur on college campus.Currently the information is disclosed in an Annual Security Report (ASR). The Clery Act also requires schools to send timely warnings to the school community when there are known risks to public safety on campus. This law is a federal statute codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), with implementing regulations in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations at 34 C.F.R. 668.46.

This law is vitally important by reporting the attacks. Moreover, in 2008, Eastern Michigan University did not disclose of a student,  Laura Dickson, who was assaulted and murdered in 2006 on campus. Thus, the University was fined and the president dismissed for failing to warn student body. The Laura Dickinson incident spotlighted that universities must comply with the  law and report and publish statistics on attacks that happen on university campuses. The incident brought forth university-wide changes in campus safety and safety notifications. However, publishing these attacks yearly is not enough. Thus, I propose a more frequent and public listing needs to be implemented, in order to continue to raise awareness of attacks in hopes of stopping them.  

By publishing a monthly report (versus yearly) and in the campus paper (in addition to  the ASR report) the local community paper, as well as their online versions will be more effective. The listing should have the victims sex, age, location of attack, attackers sex and age.  By bringing this information more readily available and more timely will keep the topic forefront, as well as reminding students to be aware and sensitive. This aspect of awareness is what really garnered the proposed bill. While the detailed legislative solution will be described later in the this proposal, it should be known that the main goal of the new proposed bill is create more awareness. Colleges should openly communicate and exhibit the events so that all students and the community at large is armed with information to make smarter choices, which may include different living arrangements or walking home in groups.  Moreover, it could also deter those who commit the actions by realizing that they will not go unnoticed or publicized. Furthermore, it is proposed that education seminars and examinations be required prior to entering the university versus once already enrolled. This suggestion encourages students to become more aware of the issue before they come to college and thus much more sensitive and heightened to it being a serious issue and concern. Overall, while the bill does not directly stop sexual assaults on campuses, the goal is to make people more aware of the attacks so they are better prepared to protect themselves which in fact will translate to a reduce number of attacks.

 

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:

 

 

 

Sexaul assault is clearly as a terrible occurance that affects the attacked but also the entire community. As recently portrayed in the media this past year, sexual harassment and assault is now being recognized more than ever. With this in mind, it is time to for Michigan to also step up and speak out. This issue has no preference thus why it is so important to protect everyone. It affects all people regardless of age, gender, socio economic and religious backgrounds and race.

The premise of the proposal is to raise awareness to a greater extent than currently exists, so that these dangerous and scary attacks are reduced and eventually never happen in the state of Michigan. It is a myth that sexual harassment only affects the victim.  The attacks and their actions spread a wide net and affect however the action affect families, friends, and can impact the entire community.

 

In regards to The Clery Act, if Jean Clery’s family had been aware of the high number of sexual attacks, they may have never sent their daughter to this school. In addition, had Laura Dickson’s attack been promoted, other students would be aware and heightened and more sensitive in their everyday lives. The goal is be made be been aware.  In addition, sexual assault survivors are more prone to mental health issues like depression, post traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, and anxiety. Clearly, these conditions have lasting impact on the entire community and the state as a whole. Overall, it should be explicitly stated that sexual assault is not just a victim and aggressor situation.  Given this ubiquitous effect, things must change!

 

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

 

 

A few months ago, I received an alarming call from my mother. She told me that she was at a local jail with law enforcement because she witnessed a sexual attack on a woman. Alarmed and worried, she explained that she had actually seen a man on the street attempt to sexually harass a woman in broad daylight as she entered her walk up apartment.  The woman was wearing headphones so she did not hear or notice a man behind her enter her building. Astonishingly, my mother was walking on the street and saw the man follow the woman into her building. My mother recalls sensing something was wrong and followed the man following the women. As he started to attack her, my mother screamed and called 911 in hopes of deterring the attack.  In the end, the woman was attacked but was not raped.

 

This entire episode stayed with me as I realized it could have been my sister or myself attacked. I began to read up and investigate the frequency at which this attacks occur.  Soon after this episode, the #MeToo movement gained prominence, and the overall sentiment of the country shifted towards a more watchful and heightened sensitive to sexual predators. Sexual harassment and assault has long been an issue.  Based on my mother’s experience, and the overall national sentiment, I realized I needed to act and enlighten my friends and community to the dangers of these attacks. Thus, I decided to research and draft a proposal on sexual assault on college campuses. Through extensive research, speaking the Residential Advisor, School government officials,  I learned that a majority of occurrences happen in dorms in the first few months of school, called the red zone. If a rape on the streets of New York City can barely be stopped, how could a sexual harassment event in a private dorm be stopped? I hope that my proposal of frequent reporting and sexual attack seminars will contribute to a decrease in these instances.

 

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

 

Throughout my experiences at the Ann Arbor Art Center, I participated in various activities that have me interacting with all different people. I was involved in contributing to an upcoming exhibit in the AARC’s “117 Gallery”.  One of the artists I worked with suffered with depression and mental health issues. She expressed this through her art. Her pieces are beautiful, and show the traumatic effects that depression can have on people. By literally seeing her experiences on a canvas, and hearing her experiences from her mouth, I have worked on my proposal with a more passionate and driven mentality. Furthermore, I was involved in a Spring Break day camp program that the center hosts. I was able to meet some of the children, and hear about their daily lives. Many of them have aspirations that range from going to Michigan, to being a surgeon, and I can only imagine the horrific obstacles in regards to mental health and other issues that could arise should any of these children face sexual harassment. This too enabled me to work a little harder, and make a proposal at the best quality possible to impact the children and adults of Michigan. Again, while my service activity did not directly translate to the topic my proposal, my interactions with various individuals at the Ann Arbor Arts Center encouraged my work, and I hope they will see the benefits of this proposal in the future!

 

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

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dQwp6fCM-7oLuRY-mB5Z857VvmKH1neQ/view?usp=sharing

 

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:

Rebecca DeVooght, State Relations Director, University of Michigan

 

On the recommendation of Michael Fahy, I spoke with Ms. DeVooght.  She brought up challenges in my proposal mostly relating to costs. Thus, I revised my proposal to address the funding and costs associated with my solutions. Professor Fahy discussed the limitations that schools cannot require students to take mandatory classes. Thus, I pivoted and revised the solutions and in fact as a result think the new solutions are more important and impactful. Besides advising me on looking more into the costs of the proposal, Rebecca provided some more research sources and expressed confidence that such a bill could be passed. This in turn gave me confidence in the solution.

 

CONSULTATION 2:

Sophomore Student Jamie, last name withheld.

 

Jamie was attacked in her room.  Her roommate had left to go to a party.  She heard a knock at the door and thought that she had forgotten something so she opened it without hesitation.  It was a man she did not know. (Although, it is reported that the victims often know their attackers). She was forced in her room and was raped by knife point. I spoke with Jamie for a long time, and broke down the bill that I am proposing. She was in full support of it, and actually gave me the idea to speak with an RA at Michigan, due to her experience in the dorm. Jamie also thanked me and expressed gratitude for proposing this bill, and she instilled some more inspiration to make this a quality and viable plan. I am proposing this for people like Jamie who have been heavily affected by rape, and I hope this bill contributes to stopping it.

 

 

CONSULTATION 3:

Residential Advisor, University of Michigan.  

 

I thought talking with a Resident Advisor would probably be the best person to consult with, considering they too live in the dorms. I spoke with an RA in East Quad, discussing sexual assault taking place here on michigan's campus in the dorms. Luckily, this RA has never had any first hand experience with dealing or seeing a sexual assault  taken place on their hall. However according the RA it is not a regular occurrence but something that does happen. I discussed with them how often students come forward to report attacks, and they explained that. Moreover, how they are required to then to report the attacks to the local authorities and university officials. The RA explained that she is very conscious of the attacks, and is often reminded to keep an eye out for such occurrences. Surprisingly, she felt as though the bill could use more content to do more to stop the issue. Thus, we talked through some minor details and worked extensively over the phone to improve the quality and feasibility of the plan.


CONSULTATION 4: Jay Berman, political consultant to the Clinton Administration and legislative Aide to Birch Bayh, Indiana.  

 

In this interview, he conveyed the political sentiment in the United States right now certainly makes it hard to pass any bill, but with a problem like sexual harassment which is far too common on college campuses now is the time for action.  The #MeToo movement is a great way to spark change. He also referenced the “The criminal sexual conduct act” (a Michigan law against assault) simply has not been effective enough in stopping sexual assault on college campuses. While Jay has little experience in the sexual assault environment, he walked me through the process of passing a bill, and what goes into the success of it. Jay’s advice was extremely helpful in understanding how this bill could be passed.

 

 

Prospectus:

Describe the specific issue or problem, being sure to provide sufficient context so that someone less familiar with the issue has a sense of the bigger picture, but know that your focus here is on a more detailed spelling out of the specific problem or issue that you’ve identified. (250 words minimum)

Sexual assault on college campuses is a horrific nationwide problem. It is even more alarming that the majority of attacks occur in the university run dorms during the first three months of school. The state of Michigan’s advanced education schools are a contributor to this problem.  At Michigan State University it was found that of all reported acts of sexual assault on campus, 43% took place in undergraduate housing.(Sierra Rehm 2017) Furthermore, Central Michigan University had the biggest increase in reported rapes in 2016, an increase of 18 from 14 from the previous year. And, note, Western Michigan and Grand Valley State also saw the number of attacks occurring in campus run dorms ( Brian McVicar 2017)Sadly, the University of Michigan is noted as having the second highest number in the nation according to a study by the Washington Post. (Allana Akhtar 2014)  While one may typically think that the majority of these cases occur at fraternity houses or bars, assaults happening in dorm rooms is actually higher than those occurring at fraternities, bars, university buildings, and other campus locations. The disportation number of attacks that occur in dorm rooms during the red zone is alarming.  The Red Zone, the first three months of school, overlaps with a number of incidents that make this time vulnerable such as back to school parties, excessive drinking, and students often on living on their own and experience freedom for the first time. (Redden 2016)The security of the dorm room must be amplified coupled with better awareness for violence for prevention during the early months of college.

  Potential Solutions:

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

SOLUTION 1:

Solution One: All students required to take a sexual assault awareness class Freshman year and 2 hours of a seminar in sophomore, junior and senior years.

Awareness is the key to preventing sexual assault in dorm rooms on college campuses.  A key component of to help raise awareness would be that all students are required to take a sexual assault awareness class during their first semester in college. This course will be taught by professors, law enforcement, as well students who are willing to be identified as assault victims. The goal of  this course is to alert new students’ attention and awareness to the issue and hopefully it will also prevent attacks from occurring. The reason that it should be within the first semester of freshman year is because that is what is referred to as the “red zone”. The red zone is the technical term that refers to the the first three months of school in which students are at an increased risk for sexual assault attacks. Incoming students are often away from home for the first time and the drinking and freedom can create incidents.  from when they arrive at campus until thanksgiving break. While the majority of victims of sexual assaults in the dorms are girls, there are plenty of cases against males too. The class is to raise awareness but also to give the students the tools to deal with the situations if they are confronted. Moreover, it will spotlight what happens to the attacker, hopefully deterring an incidents before they occur. At the University of Michigan it is required that students take AlcoholEdu & Haven Course, whose main purpose is to “better prepare you and all our new students to manage your transition to campus and help reduce your risk for personal harm while you are a member of this community.” As this is a step in the right direction, many students don't pay attention to the content and try to get it done as soon as possible since it is online, Thus, the  on line class coupled with the required class freshman year is a heavy arsenal to stopping these attacks. Then as sophomores, junior and seniors it is required that each student take an additional 8 hours of sexucal assault awareness and prevention seminars.

 

https://firstyearexperience.umich.edu/required-courses

http://www.businessinsider.com/red-zone-shockingly-dangerous-female-college-freshmen-2014-7

 

SOLUTION 2:

Solution Two: Check in systems when enter and exit dorm rooms

 

A proposed solution to stopping sexual assaults in the dorms is to implement check in and out  systems. This rule must apply to all hours of the day, not just evening hours. At the University of Michigan, students are required to swipe into the dorms using M cards, and then use room keys to enter rooms along with a code. However, 7 out of 10 sexual assaults are by someone victims know prior to the attack. So, if there is a log of everyone who enters and leaves the dorm, it could act as a deterrent. To prevent this issue, it can be proposed that one cannot have visitors or friends in rooms after a certain hours. In addition, if a person who enters is not a student, it would required that they show id and that id would be left with security until they leave the building. At the George Washington University it is required for students to submit forms when they are having non-student guests, as well as having them sign in with ID upon ever arrival in the dorm. However if  the student does attend the university, they just need to swipe their m card or school card when they enter the dorm at the front desk.

 

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

https://living.gwu.edu/overnight-stay-requests

 

SOLUTION 3: 

Solution three- mandatory workshops for members of greek life

 

At the University of Michigan, it was found that it is 2.5 more likely to be sexually assaulted if you are a member of greek life. Every sorority and fraternity should be required to host a workshop twice each semester educating their members on the issue of sexual assault in college and specifically how they are more likely to happen in the dorms. Many members of greek life chapters are freshman living in dorms. Sorority membership puts women at a higher risk of rape. 25 percent of victims surveyed were members of sororities, and boys in fraternities are three times more likely to commit an assault than students not in greek life.  At these workshops students need to be educated on what is a healthy relationship, what constitutes an assault, and what is consent. The workshops should clarify anything that could be a grey area, and should teach young men and woman. In order to make sure that these workshops are being taught efficiently and being led correctly, members of SAPAC( sexual assault prevention center) should facilitate and conduct the discussions.


 

http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/22978-u-m-releases-results-of-campus-climate-survey-regarding-sexual-misconduct

http://endrapeoncampus.org/greek-life/

 

 

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.

In my meeting with Michael Fahy, I learned that a major part of my proposal was actually unrealistic. He actually pointed out a policy report that essentially states how legislation can not determine what a university can and can’t not teach. This created a major flaw in my proposal considering it was to implement a mandatory course. So, I revised my solutions and proposal.  As a result I believe that I have the costs in control and thus my proposal would be feasible to enact.

  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.

I began the research of this topic by conducting extensive research on line.  I read articles from the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, as well as local papers and newscasts that discussed the overwhelming problem of sexual assaults on college campuses.  Once I understood when and where the majority of these attacks were occuring, I decided to speak to a Residential Advisor in a dorm at the University of Michigan. (see consultations). I researched current laws that addressed sexual assaults on campuses nationwide and learned about the Clery Act, Title IX, as well as what college campuses around the country were doing to stop rapes and assaults.  In speaking with Rebecca DeVoorght, costs became an issue and thus she directed me to the Everfi website. Everfi is the leading innovator for college campuses helping the schools address pressing issues, including sexual assault. As the majority of state run schools in Michigan currently require students to take an online course in  Alcohol Education and Understanding Sexual Assault. In addition,  I also spoke to Jay Berman, a long time political advisor, who spoke to me about the sentiment of today’s climate regarding sexual harassment and assaults.  Moreover, I spoke with artists at the Ann Arbor Art Center who had suffered tremendously in mental health which made realize the serve affects that an attack can have on a person long after the physical scars fade.  I interviewed a student who was attacked in her dorm room, as well as a Residential Advisor on the protocol that the school requires them to follow if an attack occurs.

  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 was the sole author of 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.

 

While keeping students safe is a number one goal of a university, the current policy of reporting and publishing the assaults is not great enough to deter these events.  Student awareness and education are necessary. The publishing of the attacks needs to be frequent and more readily accessible. I propose that a list of attacks is published monthly versus yearly in the campus paper as well as online.  This information is for all students, parents and the community to read and be made aware. A student or parent would not know off hand how to find this information in its current form or that it was even required by law to report and publish.  Armed with this information, families can make sound judgements on where to send their children to school or even which dorms to live in. I also believe that all students prior to enrollment in freshman classes must take and complete the online awareness program. Currently, students at Michigan colleges are required to take the online course but in a timely manner. In fact, at the University of Michigan they have incentives to completing the course in a timely manner.  However, if the student had to take the online course before signing up classes it would raise awareness of dangers of the Red Zone, a term many students are not familiar with. It will heighten students and parents to the seriousness and frequentness of sexual assaults in dorms. Students will be armed with this information before attending school instead of once they got to school.

As school owned and operated dorms have a high frequency of attacks, security and monitoring in these buildings needs to be more pronounced.  A system to swipe in and out so that there is accountability for all students whereabouts if in a school run building. Persona of New Haven, is the company designing and installing the security systems.  Currently 5 percent of the nation's colleges have traceable card-swipe systems to get into rooms, including the University of Chicago , Duke University, New York University and Columbia University.  

 

Preambulatory clauses:

 

 

WHEREAS...the majority of attacks occur in the first three months of school (the Red Zone).

 

WHEREAS...lists of attacks are printed yearly in an annual report that is hard to access.

 

WHEREAS...attacks are occurring more often in university run dormitories than in other places on campuses.

 

 

Operative clauses:

 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED....

 

1. By requiring all incoming freshman to take the online sexual awareness and alcohol course prior to registration.  This has no additional costs to the schools. The course currently exists (Everfi administrators to 1800 campuses). Yet, by taking the course prior to attending the school will increase the awareness and highlight safety aspects.

 

2. By publishing all attacks monthly and in a campus newspaper and online.  The increased frequency will help keep the topic top of mind, continue to raise awareness and also encourage people to come forth with news of attacks or as a victim.  Moreover, publishing the list in a campus run paper and online gives easy access to the information.

 

3. By devising a check in and check out system for all students entering a college owned and operated building.  By requiring students to swipe in and out will give the school vital information to where people are and could help deter attacks.

  Counter-arguments:

What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. The main counterargument is requiring state run schools to require students to take a mandatory class.

 

2. The costs associated with compiling and publishing the attacks monthly.

 

3. Costs associated with security systems for check in and out of dormitories.

 

  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)?  

 

Initially, costs and funding plagued my proposal.  The costs required to add a mandatory course for all students and subsequently for students in Sophomore, junior and Senior years.  Thus, I realized that campuses require students to take an online course. So, if the students were required to take the online course prior to enrollment, this would add no additional costs but would have tremendous impact on their awareness prior to coming to school. In addition, there are costs to compile and publish the attacks monthly versus yearly.  However, reporting already exists. And, the costs to publish the attacks in the hopes that they will prevent further ones outweigh the costs the states will incur through legal, health and other services that must be provided once the attacks occur. The security systems needed to swipe students in and out currently exists in college campuses nationwide.

  References:

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


 

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/sexual-assault-and-mental-health

 

https://firstyearexperience.umich.edu/undergraduate-course-alcoholedu-haven-course

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/data-center/school/clery-act-reports

 

http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/22978-u-m-releases-results-of-campus-climate-survey-regarding-sexual-misconduct

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/05/nyregion/on-campus-a-security-card-and-more.html

 

http://endrapeoncampus.org/greek-life/

 

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

 

https://living.gwu.edu/overnight-stay-requests

 

https://firstyearexperience.umich.edu/required-courses

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/red-zone-shockingly-dangerous-female-college-freshmen-2014-7

 

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jun/19/nation/na-murder19

 

http://titleix.msu.edu/learn-more/education-awareness-programs.html

https://metoomvmt.org/

https://clerycenter.org/policy-resources/the-clery-act/

 

 

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Total votes: 31

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