“The national statistics show that one in five women in college will be sexually assaulted,” said Amy King, University of New Orleans student accountability director.
UNO has decided to try and bring this awareness, education and training about sexual assault to campus with implementation of an online sexual assault awareness and intervention program named “Haven” and an alcohol awareness program named “AlcoholEdu”. Starting later this fall semester, the two online courses will be available for free to all students.
It has been widely known that sexual assault is a real problem among college students, but it is only until recently that a serious national dialogue has begun on how to minimize it.
During the summer, a sexual assault case on Stanford’s campus, perpetrated by Brock Turner, brought what has long been a problem lurking in the dark on college campuses into the national spotlight.
“I think that this culture of drunk hookups has the ability to cause so many problems down the line in students lives. And it’s easy to say that now, Monday morning quarterbacking, having been in college years ago, but it’s true,” said Amy King.
“We are aware of the college culture, that this is not a utopian society, but the legal aspect of consent [under the influence of alcohol] should be a strong consideration when making decisions,” said King.
“There’s some talk about what it means to get ‘drunk consent,’ but that’s a misnomer; drunk consent doesn’t exist,” said King. “When alcohol becomes involved, you become incapacitated and the law states that consent cannot be given. You need to be very cautious. There are legal repercussions, that’s the state’s stance.”
Dean of Student Affairs Brett Kemker said, “Our job is to equip the students with knowledge. And what they decide to do in a given situation is absolutely up to them. But we think the more education and the more information we can get out to students is going to alleviate those issues.”
“We’re rolling [the two programs] out together because there’s a correlation between the two issues,” said Kemker. “The number of sexual assault instances per college student at UNO are lower than the national average, but training and awareness still needs to be gotten out.”
Kemker said “Haven” is “about healthy relationships, the importance of consent, being a good communicator and the many ways you can help create the safe, positive campus you want to be a part of.”
“This program is being implemented in school systems all over the country, and we can compare our data with other colleges and see which schools are doing well, which are doing poorly, and with this network can all help each other,” said Kemker.
“Haven is going to help us strengthen, at the university level, our support, our responses, and our outreach system,” said Amy King.
Students need to keep their eyes on their school emails, as an email will be arriving soon detailing how to sign up for these programs.
“Most likely you are attending UNO because you wanted to better yourself in some way. At UNO, we are dedicated to ensuring that our students are advancing themselves beyond the classroom. [Haven] will help you develop the critical skills to make more thoughtful and educated choices outsides the classroom.”
King said, “We want to do more training on bystander intervention, which is just as important. Students can learn more about sexual assault on this campus in person. They can come to counseling services, student health services, and on our student affairs website there’s a resource page for survivors of sexual assault. The office of Student Affairs is your office; any student can access it. It’s a fantastic place to get info on anything you need.”
Kemker said, “We’re pleased with our UNO community and how responsible they’ve been up to this point. Very, very high quality group of people. But there’s always room for improvement.”