Marquette addresses sexual violence
University overhauls procedures in wake of two high-profile cases
One of every five college women will be the victim of sexual assault, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Sexual violence on college campuses is an issue nationwide, and incidents at Marquette last year made it clear the university must be more proactive in addressing it. While media reports focused on two incidents involving student-athletes, “sexual violence of any kind is unacceptable in a community committed to the care and development of each of its members in the Ignatian tradition of cura personalis,” President Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., wrote in a letter to students.
Students, faculty and administrators launched a campus-wide Teal Out campaign during September’s Sexual Violence Awareness Week, calling attention to the issue with posters in offices, classrooms and residence hall rooms across campus that emphasized, “Without consent, it is sexual assault” and “Presume NO, unless you hear YES.” Other activities focused on survivors’ stories, including a presentation by Nancy Donoval, an alumna who was raped as a Marquette freshman 32 years ago. The annual Teeter-totter Marathon sponsored by O’Donnell Hall and other events raised funds for the nearby Sexual Assault Treatment Center.
Former Wis. Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske, distinguished professor of law, convened a community-wide task force of law enforcement officials, victim advocates and university administrators to examine university policies and procedures. The task force initiated extensive changes to Marquette’s response to sexual violence and, at the request of Father Pilarz, will continue to meet at least every semester to monitor progress. In addition, Marquette will also use the findings of several external reviews to make additional changes as needed, including a peer review of the athletics department and review by the Department of Education of Marquette’s compliance with the Clery Act.
“These changes are designed to help the university better protect victims while ensuring due process for all involved,” says Geske. “We have more work to do and will continue to meet to both monitor progress and address concerns.” — MP
In the past year Marquette has:
Changed and strengthened its reporting policy so that all sexual assault allegations are reported promptly to the Sensitive Crimes Unit of the Milwaukee Police Department.
Instituted stronger policies and procedures regarding sexual misconduct that reflect changes as a result of federal guidelines and input from law enforcement and victim advocates.
Changed the reporting structure so the athletics director is now a vice president reporting directing to President Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.
Added a full-time victim advocate to the Student Health Service staff.
Provided all first-year students with mandatory sexual misconduct awareness and prevention training.
Provided more extensive training to 1,500 students — including RAs, Greeks, all student-athletes and other student leaders. This included education about the concept of consent and bystander intervention, aimed at ensuring the safety of people in vulnerable situations.
Trained nearly 40 faculty and staff to facilitate the student programs.
Expanded alcohol and drug abuse awareness programming. At Marquette, as elsewhere, most allegations of sexual assault involve individuals the students know — and alcohol. That correlates with findings of a 2006 National Institute of Justice report that 62 percent of sexual assaults are “drug-facilitated.”
Will launch a comprehensive sexual misconduct website with information about on-campus and off-campus resources and various forms of sexual misconduct.