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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Assault awareness programs need stronger student voice

Illustration by Liz Coffee
Illustration by Liz Coffee

The state’s sexual assault audit is complete, and Chico State has been found lacking. The university is now faced with the task of renovating limp assault prevention programs.

The list of mandatory changes is extensive, but some of the most notable points are:

  • requiring annual programs for sexual assault and rape awareness.
  • creating programs specifically targeting athletes and Greeks.
  • requiring faculty/staff training courses for identifying/reporting sexual harassment.

Although the audit provides a concrete list of inbound changes to Chico State’s sexual assault response programs, vague responses aren’t enough to satisfy a student body that is tired of feeling at risk.

It takes more than filling out a checklist to provide a safe environment for students, and tacking on annual awareness programs isn’t going to change a paradigm plagued by violence.

The awareness programs themselves need to be reevaluated and improved upon by well-equipped and specialized campus organizations with a direct link to students, such as Safe Place and Gender & Sexuality Equity Center.

These organizations are dedicated to raising awareness for sexual assault and rape prevention and will undoubtedly handle the subjects with more tact than past programs.

When addressing an issue as traumatic and pervasive as sexual assault, the dignity of those who have been effected has to come first.

In addition, program coordinators that care makes for programs that prompt change. Rather than listening to a list of facts from a police officer satisfying a job requirement,  students will be listening to the words and experiences of impassioned peers and professionals.

These program coordinators are far more likely to make a lasting impression with genuine conviction behind their words.

If Chico State has to revamp how they handle sexual assault prevention and reporting, then they might as well do it right. It isn’t just a question of quantity—how many programs are in place— but also quality.

With a well-established organizations like Safe Place spearheading programs and involved students from GSEC helping to run them, Chico State can start creating a safer environment for its students.

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