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Seven reports of sexual assault so far in 2016

Seven reports of sexual assault so far in 2016

A University of North Texas Police squad car sits outside of the Sullivant Safety Center. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Seven reports of sexual assault so far in 2016
May 05
02:53 2016

Tiffany Ditto | Staff Writer

@TiffanyDitto

There have been seven reported sexual assaults this semester, according to the university’s crime log. If this trend continues, the number of reported assaults on campus will surpass the 12 sexual assaults reported by the university last year.

University officials said the rise in reported sexual assaults isn’t a result of more assaults happening, but a greater awareness of how to report. The data from 2014 are the latest to be released by the university in the annual Security and Fire Safety report.

“I believe the number of those reported are due to our education, training, and prevention efforts,” Dean of Students Maureen McGuinness said in an e-mail. “With those statistics it does not mean sexual assaults were not occurring before our numbers started to rise. It means we are doing more to educate our community how to report, what the resources are and doing more education.”

McGuinness said the university strives to have diverse program types to ensure that education and prevention are tackled from multiple angles. She also said that the Dean of Student’s Office has online modules, various awareness events, campaigns and even self-defense training classes.

One of these education programs, Haven, is required by all incoming freshmen. The Haven online class is a tool utilized by 650 universities that strives to teach students the definition of rape, sexual harassment and stalking. The course stresses safety while also informing them of different people they could talk to if assaulted.

While this class is compliant with the Clery Act, which also requires the Annual Security and Fire Safety report, it is unclear how helpful these tools have been to UNT students.

Kailey Gladden, a biology junior, said she hasn’t ever been to a sexual assault awareness program on campus. She also said the Haven class was not very beneficial.

“Honestly, I don’t remember anything it went over,” Gladden said. “It was required so I did it.”

Gladden also said she doesn’t know who else to report a sexual assault incident to on campus other than the police.

English sophomore Madison Darling has also never been to a sexual assault awareness event on campus, but does remember the Haven class.

“It’s good information if you pay attention,” Darling said. “It’s easy to mute and click along though because it’s not very interactive. I know a lot of people muted and clicked through it that because it was required.”

A 2015 survey commissioned by the Association of American Universities found that one in four women experience sexual assault on campuses, an increase from the previously known statistic of one in five women. UNT’s dean of students office reports that one in 16 men also experience sexual assault while in college.

Because these numbers are so high this year, the newly elected SGA president, Grant Hale, and vice president, Barrett Cole, are working to spread awareness about resources the university offers to combat sexual assault.

While campaigning they asked students what they were concerned with on campus, and found sexual assault came up a lot. They hope to use their platform to do what they can to combat sexual assault.

Instead of creating new programs, the duo said they plan to improve and better advertise the ones the university has.

“We want to work with the dean of students to make improvements to resources and to make sure students know these things exist,” Hale said. “We need to work on promoting the things we have already to promote meaningful change, instead of just creating a new program or hash tag because that only does so much.”

Cole said that she would like to see UNT host Not On My Campus, an event already at other universities in the area that goes on throughout the year, allowing the conversation about sexual assault to stay open.

“This is a UNT community issue to combat sexual assault,” McGuinness said. “We need students, faculty, staff and community members to help us do continued education and prevention. We all need to be active bystanders and help those that need our assistance.”

Featured Image: A University of North Texas Police squad car sits outside of the Sullivant Safety Center. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

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