Campus assault awareness plans come to a standstill

After recent discussions on how to prevent campus assaults, members of the Oakland University Student Congress (OUSC) decided to help OU further protect its students.

A resolution, proposed by legislators Andrew Laux and Madison Kubinski, planne to educate the student body through brochures that were anonymously accessible in bathrooms across campus. It also considered the possibility of promoting the hiring of more female police officers at the Oakland University Police Department (OUPD), and pushing for more student-run initiatives on fixing the problem of sexual assault.

Laux, congressional archivist for the OUSC, stated that his and Kubinski’s inspiration for the bill was their fellow students’ need for it.

“We wanted to stress importance of being safe and presenting different avenues for students who are assaulted on and off campus,” Laux said.“The resolution is a springboard for the future. It will raise awareness and help break the illusion that this doesn’t happen on our campus.”

Kubinski, steering chair for the OUSC, said another part of their inspiration came from the Student Associations of Michigan (SAM) Conference held last year.

“At the SAM Conference, I had used the restroom at the University of Michigan, and saw these pamphlets they had in the bathroom about how to go about recovering from sexual assault,” Kubinski said.

OU took things a step further by being one of the first universities to uptake such an effort. According to Kubinski, OUPD has considered educating members in fraternities throughout campus on the very real possibilities of sexual assault, but this was excluded from the resolution due to the overload of previous ideas.

“Oakland has a very strict alcohol policy, which can really help lower the risks of assaults,” Kubinski said. “But it doesn’t help every crime from happening. Students still need to be aware of what to do if they’re assaulted, which is what the pamphlets plan to do.”

Overall, the OUSC had hoped to create a brochure to put in the male, female and gender neutral bathrooms across campus to help educate students and faculty on what actions to avoid domestic abuse or how to report and handle an unwanted sexual encounter.

“I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed is many students just don’t know how real the possibility of being sexually assaulted is,” Laux said. “I’m a guy, none of my friends have been assaulted, but the SAM conference really opened my eyes to realizing that this is something that happens very frequently, and is preventable when the right measures are taken.”

According to Laux, the duty of herself and the bill was to protect each student. While it was originally set to pass, the resolution was vetoed by Student Body President Annie Meinburg.

The veto states “The resolution should be very clear on how to promote initiatives that will promote education among the student body regarding sexual assault and abusive relationships.”

While the bill had an unpromising resolution, Meinburg said that it might be passed if it was clearer on how the resolution would actually go about teaching students the issues of sexual assaults on campus.

“If Oakland University Student Congress wants to take a stand on sexual assault, it would be advantageous to organize it in the form of a student run initiative that changes the campus structure,” she said.

Kubinski said that she and Laux plan on continuing their efforts in creating a resolution that would educate OU students on the issues of sexual assault.

“Oakland has a lot of places to go if you’re assaulted,” Laux said. “You could go to the Health Center, the Gender and Sexuality Center, or the OUPD. But the problem is students still find it too taboo to talk about, and hopefully, easy access to this information will help break down some of these barriers.”

Those interested in helping the bill pass can attend an OUSC meeting, held Mondays at 4 p.m. in the Oakland Center, or contact Kubinski and Laux at [email protected] and [email protected]