Since President Obama began his “It’s On Us” campaign to end sexual assault on campus, the public has responded with increased interest and yearning for knowledge in this sector. Students across the nation have been concerned about sexual violence and rape culture on campus long before President Obama created his task force, though.
One in five women are sexually assaulted in college, and they are often assaulted by someone they know. What’s equally dismaying is that, most often, these assaults go unreported, whether it be from feelings of fear, shame, isolation, not knowing what kinds of resources their campus has to offer, or a combination of the above. In 2000, Columbia University Students created an organization called SAFER to help empower student-led campaigns to help change college sexual assault policies, or just simply create them. SAFER provides trainings, has an Activist Resource Center, and is responsible for the creation of the Campus Accountability Project.
What is The Campus Accountability Project? The Campus Accountability Project is an online resource library; students can submit their schools’ sexual assault policies and see how they are “graded,” as well as being able to compare their campus to other universities across the country that have also been added to the database. It helps students to analyze and reform their school policy by seeing how they measure up! The CAP also allows student to see what kinds of resources their campus offers survivors of assault.
Five aspects determine this grade: survivor resources, educational programming, safety initiatives, formal policy highlights, and compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act).
At first, SAFER had policy submissions from 299 four-year colleges and universities in the US from 2009-2012. This is what they found:
No policy from any college or University in the database scored in the A grade range
Over one third of the policies scored in the C range
About half of the schools scored a D or F.
7 in 10 schools indicated that they have a 24-hour crisis services for survivors
About 40% of schools hire one full-time employee to work on sexual assault education and prevention
Only about one-tenth of the schools assessed require students to sign a statement or otherwise attest they have read the policy
Nearly one-third of the schools did not fully comply with the Clery Act
The full report can be viewed here.
After reading this, we thought it would be interesting to submit Winona State and see how WSU is graded in comparison to other MNscu schools
Overall, it took about an hour for us to complete the submission process, although it might have taken longer if we had not already known where the policies were on the WSU website. While the information is by no means hidden, it could be difficult to locate for the average student looking to check it out!
We submitted Winona State’s policies to see how WSU would compare to schools across the nation. It takes a few weeks to get it published with a letter grade (because there is only one volunteer who combs through the submission and fact-checks it for accuracy!), but for now we can see if WSU’s policies meet the requirements by SAFER for an A (don’t worry, WSU will be published within the next month or so!)
In the meantime, here are five important things you should know about our campus sexual assault policies and services:
1) Winona State offers a Gender-Based Violence Help Line (507.457.5610) staffed by trained peer advocates 24/7, and it’s completely confidential.
2) Winona State offers security escorts to students, employees, and faculty within a four-block radius of campus after dark.
3) Winona State provides free, confidential counseling to survivors of sexual assault.
4) In addition to counseling, Winona State’s health office offers free emergency contraception to survivors of sexual assault.
5) Winona State has an amnesty policy. That is, if a student is under the influence (and underage) at the time of an assault, they can still make a report without fear of a ticket for minor consumption.
Here are also the links to all of WSU’s policies about sexual assault.
2013 WSU Security Report
Silent Witness Report – Report Anonymously
Crime Alerts in Winona Area
Explore WSU Policies and Regulations on Sexual Assault
Resources at and around WSU for survivors:
WSU Counseling Center:
Wabasha Hall, Room 220 – (507) 457-5330
Community Memorial Hospital
855 Mankato Avenue Winona, MN 55987 – (507) 454-3650
Winona Police Department
Non-Emergency: (507) 457-6302
Women’s Resource Center:
77 East Fifth Street Winona, MN 55987
Gender Based Violence Help-Line WSU:
–Kathreen Smith and Erin Hoover