Sexual assault awareness campaign moves forward

OUSC passed a new resolution on Monday, March 2 which formally recognizes Sexual Assault Awareness Month, among other initiatives, in order to educate the OU community.

The original bill, which called for new sexual assault education to be provided on campus, was vetoed in January.

This resolution, written by Andrew Laux and Madison Kubinski, included new and revised initiatives. Included was cooperating with the Gender and Sexuality Center and the Graham Health Center to distribute educational pamphlets in bathrooms, plan preventative events and provide information at freshman orientations.

“It begins with us,” Laux said. “It’s everyone’s issue and to combat the problem of sexual assault, we need tools available to identify and combat the issues.”

According to a recent study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in December 2014, about 6 in 1000 female students will be raped or otherwise sexually assaulted while in college. In the same report, fewer than 1 in 5 students would receive help or report their assault to an authority.

Hypothetically speaking, within OU’s 22,000 students, about 220 women are sexually assaulted or raped and 35 of those are reported.

OU, however, is a remarkably safe campus. From 2009 until 2013, nine cases of sexual assault were reported to authorities, according to a previous interview with Laux.

Though this campus has low rape and sexual assault occurrences, the problem lies in education of the subject, according to Kubinski.

“Sexual assault is still important,” Kubinski said. “It’s Women’s History Month, and though it affects both men and women, it’s primarily a woman’s issue. It’s important for Oakland to show support from both men and women in the OUSC to show the entire world that OU takes this issue seriously.”

The new resolution cleared up some clarity issues and made the resolution much less vague than the previous bill, according to Laux.

“We wanted to make sure if something didn’t work out, we could at least say we tried,” Laux said. “But the new resolution is more than clear on our initiatives.”

Brittany Hall, a supporter of the bill, supported the original bill and the second attempt of it passing through.

“It’s important for the voice of Oakland University to support something that should be recognized nationwide,” Hall said. “Even though we haven’t seen a lot on campus, not everything is reported. We can start locally, and hopefully, help spark a bigger change.”

OUSC is excited to see the passing of the revised bill, according to Student Body President Annie Meinberg.

The new resolution impacts more than just women on campus, as well.

Hall presented a program called “Sex Signals,” in which performances would be used to talk about consent in sexual relationships.

Sam Harris, another OUSC legislator, announced that Greek Week will recognize the new event. It will be seen as part of the activities for the popular event, allowing students who are part of Greek culture on campus to get involved.

Though this will be the first activity held as a result of the new resolution, Hall said that Oakland University is now one step closer to being serious about the problem of campus sexual assault.

OU will join major universities across Michigan in awareness of on-campus sexual assault and taking strides to prevent it.