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Local events to target campus abuse

Local events to target campus abuse

The Union College student Committee on Consent Education and Awareness is hosting a Sexual Assault A
Local events to target campus abuse
From left to right: Shayna Han, senior, Kyra DeTone, junior, Sydney Giller, junior, and Antonia Batha, sophomore, pose for a photo in front of Reamer Campus Center at Union College on Tuesday, September 30, 2014. They are organizing sex-assault awarene...
Photographer: Patrick Dodson

At a glance

A look at on-campus sex-crime data for the year 2012 reported by area colleges and universities, as mandated by and according to the U.S. Department of Education. Further crime data can be found on individual institutions’ websites:

Institution, Sex offenses-forcible

University at Albany, 10

Siena College, 7

Skidmore College, 6

SUNY Cobleskill, 5

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2

Union College, 1

Fulton-Montgomery Community College, 2

Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences,1

The College of Saint Rose, 1

The Sage Colleges of Albany, 1

Note: Schenectady County Community College, Adirondack Community College, Russell Sage College (Troy) and Maria College of Albany reported no sex offenses for 2012 to the U.S. Department of Education.

Union College sophomore Antonia Batha said she will not be discouraged if any one event designed to highlight sexual abuse on campus is not well-attended.

“If two people show up for one event, and they will tell two friends, and they tell two friends, by the end of the week it will spread,” said Batha, part of a student group trying to raise awareness. “It’s a long process, but we are trying from the student end.”

Batha is part of the student Committee on Consent Education and Awareness, along with senior Shayna Han and juniors Sydney Giller and Kyra DeTone, that is hosting a Sexual Assault Awareness Week.

“The week is really about prevention,” Batha said. “If there is an incident, a lot of times it goes unreported. We want people to feel safe. Ultimately we don’t want to see it happen at all.”

Their efforts are coinciding with programs being offered by Union College, which are also coinciding with the White House public service campaign “It’s On Us,” designed to fundamentally shift the way sexual assault is viewed on college campuses. Major college sports leagues and celebrities are taking part in the campaign, and men as well as woman are being encouraged to get involved. Union is one of almost 200 colleges and universities involved.

One in five women will be sexually assaulted in college, many of them in their first year by someone they know, according to the White House.

The college is also expanding its Bystander Intervention Program, which enlists and trains staff and students to intervene in situations where sexual harassment or sexual violence could arise.

Begun last spring, the program will train student leaders who represent a number of athletic teams. Leaders of Greek organizations, as well as Safe Space, Leadership Diversity Council and others, will also be trained.

“Let me be perfectly clear: There is no place for these behaviors in our community,” Union President Stephen C. Ainlay said in a statement. “Familiarize yourself with our policy on sexual misconduct, relationship violence and sexual harassment. Truly, it’s on us.”

Activities remaining this week include:

• A weeklong “It’s On Us” handprint project in all residence halls, theme houses and Minervas. Participants will be asked to leave their handprint on a banner, symbolizing their pledge to not use their hands for violence, and to use their strength to make sure victims are survivors.

• Wednesday: Consent Garments. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Reamer Campus Center.

• Wednesday: Attorney Elizabeth Fisher, Class of 1981, will discuss sexual violence and the law at a dinner and discussion, 5 p.m., Breazzano House.

• Thursday: Jonathan Kalin, a Colby College graduate who started an organization centered around consent and sexual assault awareness. Talk during common hour in Beuth Common Room; keynote in Reamer Auditorium for athletes at 7:30 p.m.; dinner and discussion in Messa House at 5:30 p.m.

• Friday: Safe Space hosts “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” beginning at 4:30 p.m. in front of Library Plaza. Men are asked to walk in high-heeled shoes to raise awareness of rape, sexual assault and gender violence.

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