Campus must better sexual assault education

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Illustration by Liz Coffee

Illustration by Liz Coffee

When freshmen first arrive at Chico State, they are required to participate in a program called Safe Start.

During the program, the women are segregated in one room and given a keychain tag with tips on how to avoid being sexually assaulted:

– If a situation doesn’t “feel” right, get away from the situation.

– Go out with a group of friends and stay together!

– Program important phone numbers into your cell phone.

Also on the keychain is a rape whistle.

The men watch a comedic sketch from “Chappelle’s Show.”

Aside from the obvious distinction between the education of male and female students, there is another problem with Safe Start: It is students’ first and last required education on sexual assault at Chico State.

The lack of student sexual assault education largely contributes to the reason why it remains a predominant issue on campus.

In a federal audit released in June, Chico State was found lacking in several areas regarding sexual assault.

Student education on sexual assault was one problem listed in the audit.

Out of the 34 students polled in the audit, only 12 students were completely aware of resources available should they experience a sexual assault.

One resource available is Student Judicial Affairs, which is responsible for processing and responding to sexual assault and harassment complaints.

However, several complaints took too long to be processed, according to the audit.

Some were not even completed at all.

Regardless of the reasons surrounding the lack of investigation, there were students behind these complaints who believed they would be helped after they came forward, and they weren’t.

It is Chico State’s responsibility to educate students on sexual assault and to keep students informed on what to do and who to talk to if they are ever sexually assaulted.

The findings in the audit are atrocious and paint Chico State in a negative light — and rightfully so.

Until students are fully educated on sexual assault, Chico State will continue to have the reputation of a university that does not care about its students.

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