After a series of redacted emails and text messages were leaked on anonymous Tumblr “Fratergate” in April alluding to illicit behavior like physical assault and rape happening on American University’s campus, President Neil Kerwin was quick to respond. While at first vague about the university’s actions moving forward to combat sexual assault on campus, a new plan released Tuesday sheds some more light on what AU intends to do to help prevent sexual violence from happening on school grounds in the future.
Outlined in a summer update email sent out to the campus community from Vice President of Campus Life Gail Hanson, AU will add another sexual assault prevention coordinator and victim advocate to staff.
“We want to be sure that we have enough [staff] capacity to help people when they need help,” Hanson said. “With the addition of another full time person we ought to have both the confidential resources and the training resources covered.”
The individual hired will be responsible for representing the university at monthly meetings with the D.C. College Consortium and the DC Office of Victim Services.
The university will also begin supplying the Metropolitan Police Department with information detailing several off-campus locations where AU students have been reported for partaking in high risk or illegal activities involving drugs and alcohol.
The data AU Public Safety will provide police and the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration with was gathered from an analysis of last year’s alcohol and drug student conduct cases, reads the email.
AU has also sought to combat sexual assault on campus by offering incoming members of the Class of 2018 STEP UP! training over the course of a two-day Eagle Summit session during the summer. It’s a new program launched by the university “to address sexual assault awareness and bystander information,” according to AU student newspaper The Eagle.
Training is currently targeted at athletes and Greek-affiliated organizations, which is only one small segment of the university community. While a commendable first step, this plan of action still leaves out a large segment of the student population.
Luckily, there’s also U ASK DC app that’s free for AU students to access. The tool available via smartphone offers complete access to sexual assault information and resources on nine local college campuses. Whether it’s legal, medical or emotional support students need, U ASK DC can help them find it fast.
This is just the beginning of what’s sure to be more big changes on AU’s campus in the wake of “Fratergate.” Hopefully other universities take AU’s lead and begin to reform the policies they have regarding campus sexual assault prevention.