It’s no secret that sexual assault is a problem on college campuses across the country, a problem that has received significantly more attention in recent years than in the past. Keene State College’s Clery Report for 2018, a report about crime on or near campus that all colleges and universities are required to publish, insists that relationship violence and sexual misconduct are not tolerated at KSC, and that the school is committed to providing a safe environment for all students, staff and faculty. In order to help combat the issue of sexual misconduct, KSC will be awarded a 300,000 dollar Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) grant to provide sexual violence education on campus. The details of the grant are still being communicated, but members of the KSC administration are optimistic that this grant will help reduce incidents of sexual violence on campus.
KSC President Dr. Melinda Treadwell is pleased that KSC has been awarded this grant. In recent years colleges and universities have been under increased scrutiny to curb incidents of sexual violence, but Treadwell feels that KSC has been going above and beyond for a long time, and she feels that the OVW Grant acknowledges that.
“It (the grant) recognizes that we’ve been doing sexual violence prevention for a long time, long before it was something that colleges had to do,” Treadwell said. “Our education efforts and reporting culture are getting stronger.”
Treadwell also said that the school has put an increased emphasis on these programs. She also believes that while it is generally agreed upon by experts that sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes in America, KSC has relatively accurate data about incidents that happen on campus.
“I feel sad that we still have this much sexual violence as a species in general, but I think our numbers compared nationally, knowing we have an increasingly strong reporting culture, it makes me feel like we’re doing a lot of great things with it,” Treadwell said.
Treadwell said that the OVW Grant will be used to hire someone to run a three year program for sexual violence prevention work that will focus on increasing education, supporting students, and raising awareness about the issue.
Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Kemal Atkins, Assistant Director of Emotional Health Programming Forrest Seymour and Interim Title IX Coordinator Kelli Jo Harper all declined interview until further information becomes available about the details of the grant.
Statistics on the matter vary, but Forbes and Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) report that between 16 to 20 percent of women in college experience sexual assault at some point during their college careers. According to RAINN, college-aged women are at an elevated risk for sexual assault compared to women from other age ranges. They are also significantly more likely to become victims of sexual assault than they are to be victims of other crimes.
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