MSU now requires that all first- and second-year students attend in-person sexual assault prevention and bystander intervention training. It also offers customized prevention training programs for specific academic units, offices, and populations.
Michigan State University (MSU) is employing an aggressive campus-wide effort to combat relationship violence and sexual misconduct (RVSM) through revised and expanded prevention programs. So far, since April 30, 2018, more than 30,000 of its students, faculty, and staff have received prevention training.
As part of the newly launched effort, MSU now requires that all first- and second-year students attend in-person RVSM prevention and bystander intervention training. The popular university also offers customized prevention training programs for specific academic units, offices, and populations. Included are athletes, fraternities, and sororities, and teaching assistants, to name a few.
“We’ve had in-person sexual assault and relationship violence prevention training on campus going back ten years, but it was focused specifically on first-year students,” MSU Prevention Outreach and Education (POE) Director Kelly Schweda said. “Bringing prevention efforts into this department has allowed MSU to more effectively align resources, programming and education outreach for the campus community. This approach allows us to cast a wider net to include upperclassmen, graduate students, faculty and staff on critical issues.”
Instituted upon the recommendation of the university’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup, POE is an effort designed to “promote safety and improve quality of life by educating members of the campus community on RVSM issues, including eliminating violence on campus, empowering staff, faculty, and students to become advocates for a non-violent community; and positively affecting social change,” according to officials.
Since its creation, the department has created new opportunities for awareness across campus through “expanding faculty and staff training, collaboration and outreach around topics such as understanding the RVSM policy, navigating disclosures and supporting survivors; creating new training to better meet the needs of student-athletes and staff; developing outreach and education for graduate students; updating student orientation materials to place emphasis on self-empowerment, RVSM training requirements and awareness of support services; developing individualized plans to help departments address culture climate issues; and enhancing the ‘Greeks Take the Lead’ fraternity and sorority RVSM prevention program,” officials state.
“We are committed to empowering our graduate teaching assistants and faculty members with the tools to respond to disclosures of RVSM in ways that are survivor-centered and trauma-informed,” graduate school assistant dean Melissa McDaniels said. “To that end, the specialists at POE worked with our team to develop a tailored workshop and toolkit that promotes a culture of care in our community.” She added, “The workshop helped us better understand our role as mandatory reporters and gave us tools to educate students about the resources available at MSU, both to prevent and respond to incidents of RVSM. The feedback on the training from our students and faculty was overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to continuing to work with POE.”
Support services and education efforts are aided on campus by MSU’s Know More awareness campaign. Launched last fall, Know More acknowledges RVSM and promotes resources and options available to survivors. The university’s Sexual Harassment Policy was issued by the Office of the President on September 1, 1992 and revised in May 1999, January 2011, and June 2011. The Office of the President issued this expanded Relationship Violence & Sexual Misconduct Policy on January 1, 2015. The Policy was revised on September 8, 2015, August 31, 2016, August 30, 2017, and August 31, 2018.