Stephanie Berberick 0

Statement of support: Stop sexual violence at PSU

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Pennsylvania State Administrators:

Every two minutes in America someone is sexually assaulted, 80% of these survivors are under the age of 30[1] – making college students particularly vulnerable to instances of violence against their persons. Some numbers indicate that the instance of sexual violence is drastically increasing on college campuses[2] and a recent report has found Penn State to have the “highest number of reports of forcible sex offenses on any campus in the nation” (Anderson 2014)[3]. While stronger reporting measures are in place, indicating an institutional change for the better, there remains concern for the 60-70% of assaults left unreported[4].

We, the undersigned, believe it is time for Pennsylvania State University to further the stand against violence through proactive initiatives instead of reactive measures.

We support PSU allocating more resources to changing the pervasive culture of sexual violence that exists within this community. In light of these statistics, and in regards to wide concerns expressed by members of our community, we have drafted the following actionable suggestions for PSU administration in an effort to assist furthering the work of eradicating rape culture. The CDC reports that long-term, comprehensive prevention strategies are the best method for creating and maintaining change. These suggestions begin the work of creating such a plan. We ask that these suggestions be responded to on or before the start of the spring 2015 semester, with a timeline as to the implementation of the following, or similar, suggestions:

1: Applying a General Education requirement that involves each student take 3 credit hours of a class that discusses systems of violence as it pertains to issues of gender, race, class, age, and ability. A list of courses that would fulfill this can be provided.

2: Requiring and funding comprehensive Bystander Intervention training in all First-Year seminars.

3: Changing the online sexual harassment module from voluntary to mandatory and update this module to include pressing statistics that disprove sexual violence myths.

4: Requiring all undergraduates, graduate students, staff and faculty to take the sexual harassment module and allowing all staff and faculty to do so during work hours to ensure accessibility.

5: Allocating more financial resources to mental health care dedicated to dealing with issues of gender violence, most particularly ensuring that the student to staff ratio does not overwhelm quality care.

6: Establishing more peer-based support groups that have been trained by mental health professionals to provide support to survivors of sexual gender violence.

7: Allocating a percentage of time, we suggest 10% of prime utilization hours, of the new light board on Beaver Stadium for purposes of raising awareness of the resources available to students

8: Strict, transparent expulsion measures to those found guilty of sexual assault after a thorough investigation (to the extent allowed by law).

9: Distribute keychain or lanyard to all students, staff, and faculty that lists all important contact details for emergency situations – including the Auxiliary police, the Safe Walk program, the local police, and the Center for Women Students.

10: Increase solar-powered lighting on dimly lit streets, especially within downtown State College and on campus.

11: Include gender violence crime statistics from State College in all reports that center instances of transgression in University Park (to the extent possible). **

We ask that all changes be made in a transparent manner that allows room for feedback from all PSU community members. We believe we can change the culture together.

**Indicates measures specific to University Park. All other measures are requested for implementation across all PSU campuses.





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