“We knew they were going to talk about how the university could better handle sexual assault, and better teach about it because of the grant they got for the state,” said Kaitlin Raidna, a sophomore orientation leader in the physician’s assistant.
Seton Hill University received the Department of Education grant, and with this, the SHU organizers and leaders were questioning what to do with the funds.
“While the work that we do is really important, understanding what the actual campus climate and college environment looks like allows us to do more effective and impactful programming,” said the director of resident life Cory Campbell.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, SHU had a program event on the discussion for the community’s climate in relation to sexual misconduct Oct. 17. During the event, a panel of professionals from the blackburn center, campus police and counselors, orientation leader representatives and others were present to promote conversation.
“We thought you all are so aware of what’s happening with gender based violence, you’re such an aware campus, how can we take it to the next level? What are we not talking about, that we need to talk about? What are things that may be happening that we’re missing?” were some of the questions asked by Mae Reale, who works for the Blackburn Center, and which were discussed during the October meeting.
The #MeToo Movement brings light to the situations talked about at the meeting as well, the movement promoting discussion about the issues, topics and resources available. Darlene Sauers, an Interim Title IX Coordinator and director of Human Resources, noted how the session was moreso a spinoff of that, that we’re doing the Setonian thing of it, spreading conversation about it.
“I think it went well, I think we had a lot of students attend. Some people might’ve been there for credit, but for me, as long as they were there to hear the message,” Sauers said. “I think it started out that there wasn’t a lot of speaking up but then not too long after that the students really started to let us know what they want and what they want to see more of.”
Going back during the presentation during the welcome weekend events, students were concerned not a lot of information presented stuck with them. “I know as a freshman I was, like you have so much packed into one week, so to expand it and space things out and give kids that downtime to comprehend it and what was actually going on would be really beneficial and it would probably stick with them,” said Raidna.
The most recent tweet from @MeTooMVMT says it all: “The seeds for the #metooMVMT were planted more than 20 years ago. The words were crystalized over a decade ago. A year ago the world finally understood their power. And we’ll never be the same. #metoo”. It’s an ever growing movement. The topics that are relevant to the movement are also to the discussion that was had at SHU, both being important discussions with a wide variety of change that can be made.
There will be another event similar to the “Setonians Say No More” program held in November.
“I think as a society, especially as college age kids we’re becoming more aware of this stuff happening in the world and we see we used to always have that attitude like ‘oh it will never happen to me,’” said Raidna. “And we’re realizing hey it can be you so you should prepare yourself and I think it’s definitely a good idea especially stressing the, if god forbid you ever find yourself in a situation this is what you should do.”
Published By: Stephen Dumnich