MUSG swear in new president and talks sexual assault awareness

Arica Van Boxtel and Bill Niedhardt are sworn in as the new President and Vice President of MUSG. Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/[email protected]

At last Thursday’s MUSG meeting, members saw a presentation on campus sexual assault awareness and education. The presentation was given by Dan Bergen, assistant dean for university apartments and off campus student services; Sue Cooper, coordinator of sexual violence and advocacy services; Chris Daood, assistant director of the Counseling Center; and Lynn O’ Brien, sexual violence prevention coordinator at the Counseling Center.

The presentation included information about Marquette’s past efforts to decrease  campus sexual assaults and raise awareness about sexual assault prevention. It also covered new initiatives the university is using to educate students, staff, faculty and administrators about proper reporting procedures in the event of a sexual assault.

“Anyone on campus that becomes aware of sexual assault is required to contact (the Department of Public Safety), which must contact the Milwaukee Police Department,” O’Brien said.

Bergen said the university has concentrated its efforts on education and prevention. Bergen said there is a focus on freshman students, especially those in their first six weeks of college, because they are at the greatest risk.

Bergen said 95 percent of the residence hall population was reached through the 77 programs presented. Bergen said the university plans to continue these efforts into the fall.

“We have every intention of doing that again this year,” Bergen said.

Non-first-year students were targeted as well through student leaders. Bergen said much of that reach included discussions, which he said saw 100 percent participation.

The four speakers said they are working hard on the issue with other dedicated staff members and know they have a long way to go to eradicate sexual assaults on campus.

Marquette is continuing to develop bystander prevention awareness initiatives to address how the campus should act and respond in cases of sexual assault. Daood said Marquette must hold itself responsible for a respectful and inclusive community and help students look out for each other.

O’Brien said the website on sexual misconduct is up and running with updated policies and procedures and information for victims.