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Students, faculty gather for sexual assault forum

CW / Tajma Henderson

Tatumn Vaught

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 Around 150 students, parents and faculty members gathered at a forum on Thursday night to learn more about sexual assault on college campuses. The forum, titled Sexual Assault on Campus: Perspectives from the Police and University Community, was led by a panel and focused on how sexual assault can be prevented, federal laws that are involved, steps that can be taken for support, and all the resources that are available for victims. 

Kenney, an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and event moderator, introduced the forum by providing facts about sexual assault and how we can become more educated within our community. The audience members, particularly students, got to chime in by submitting questions via email or text message for the panel members. 

Kenney said the main point of the event was to convey that a dialogue should be started across campus, whether it’s for victims who need a support system or about ways to prevent future cases of sexual assault. 

“Silence is the universal condition of oppression and that’s what this panel is about, breaking the silence,” Kenney said. 

The students and panel members held heavy hearts when asking questions and responding about the topics presented. Whether it was Courtney Cross, assistant professor and director of domestic violence law clinic, Yuri Linetsky, assistant professor and director of UA’s Civil Law Clinic, Jessica Humber, deputy coordinator of UA’s Title IX Office, Madeline Anscombe, president of “Not on my campus,” or Ms. Zoe Winston, peer education programs coordinator  for the Women and Gender Resource Center, speaking about their program’s opportunities for victims, every word was spoken with passion and open arms for anyone who’s been affected. 

Ariane Prohaska, associate professor for the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice said everyone has to work together as a campus community to solve these problems. 

“…Questioning when somebody says something [negative] about rape is the first step,” Prohaska said. “We have to understand this is a serious issue and we have to change the culture as a part of prevention.”

Alexis Flowers, senior criminal justice major, felt the event was a success.

“I do think that it’s important to start a dialogue and this is the largest and most advertised event surrounding sexual assault that I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” Flowers said. 

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Students, faculty gather for sexual assault forum