The University of Maryland, College Park Senate voted 70-1 yesterday to approve a sexual misconduct policy that includes mandated sexual assault education for every member of the university community.
“This is a really important day for the university, and today was the first step in changing a culture that blames the victim before it blames the perpetrator,” said Lauren Redding, a 2013 university graduate, former Diamondback editor-in-chief, sexual assault survivor, and current Feminist Majority Foundation online communications associate.
After Redding authored the education mandate bill last winter, a university legal team drafted the policy using recommendations from the senate’s Sexual Harassment Task Force. President Wallace Loh temporarily ratified it in August while he awaited Senate approval.
The sexual misconduct training will be offered through different platforms, including fraternities and sororities, dormitories, freshman level courses, and potentially the Internet. The trainings will cover sexual assault and rape culture, including bystander intervention techniques that students can use on campus to eradicate sexual violence.
While the education mandate will not take effect until the university’s spring semester, the CARE to Stop Violence program will run a smaller pilot program for the next few months in order to inform a long-term plan. Officials will measure and compare the impact of online and in-person training among 300 to 600 incoming undergraduate students.
Media Resources: The Diamondback 5/11/13, 9/27/13, 10/11/13; Feminist Newswire 9/6/13