The Daily Aztec

SDSU starts sexual assault briefs

Monica Linzmeier, Editor in Chief

by Camille Lozano, Assistant News Editor

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Today San Diego State’s Sexual Violence Task Force will hold a community briefing on the topic of sexual assault on and near campus, and the current efforts by the university to stop perpetrators and make campus safer.

This is the first briefing by the task force and will take place in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union’s Templo Mayor Suite from 3 to 4 p.m. These briefings will be held on a bi-weekly basis throughout the semester.

According to SDSU’s NewsCenter, the briefings will include discussions about:

  • Campus prevention programs
  • Response protocols
  • Support services
  • University Police
  • Campus judicial process

Additionally, the bi-weekly meetings aim to promote dialogue between the campus community and task force members through question and answer sessions.

The task force has been meeting since the middle of last year and formed around the time SDSU began to receive national attention for the consistent basis with which sexual assaults occurred on campus.

The task force is split into four subcommittees to adequately address the various issues in sexual assault awareness and prevention. The subcommittees are: Education and Training, Changing the Rape Culture (Addressing Environmental Barriers), Communications, and Evaluation and Assessment.

These groups are led by Anthony Keen, the Pride Center’s coordinator; Frankie Velazquez, a security manager in the Residential Education Office; Corey Polant, the Associated Students vice president for university affairs; and Jennifer Rikard, the director of SDSU’s counseling an psychological services, respectively.

According to the Title IX website, the Education subcommittee is reviewing SDSU’s current policies and practices with regards to sexual assault while gauging their effectiveness to determine whether they should be expanded or replaced.

The communication subcommittee has been tasked with finding out the best way to communicate with the SDSU community about the issues surrounding awareness and prevention of sexual violence. Additionally, they will work to connect students with support resources and provide information to campus on programs and events relating to sexual violence awareness and prevention.

The evaluation subcommittee will develop criteria that can be used to gauge the effectiveness of current and new policies while the environmental barriers subcommittee will look into how to change the culture of SDSU and society with regards to sexuality, rape, issues of consent and sexual violence.

The force is made up of 21 members in total and includes faculty, staff and student representatives in the departments of athletics, women’s studies, campus safety police and Army ROTC among others.

This semester, SDSU received additional help with efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence in the form of a $200,000 grant from the California governor’s Office of Emergency Services for the 2015 fiscal year. The grant is part of the Cal OES Campus Sexual Assault Program and was awarded to SDSU following a proposal submitted by the university in July. The money will go towards hiring a full-time sexual assault victim advocate as well as a part-time police officer dedicated to sexual violence prevention including trainings on the issue and investigation.

According to NewsCenter, the university announced that it will contribute $66,667 of its own funding towards the OES grant, allowing the task force to expand their membership to “include representatives from community agencies and local law enforcement.”

The money will aid in funding sexual violence awareness and prevention measures at SDSU for the next three years.

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