California State University, Stanislaus is looking to add another resource for sexual assault victims on campus, a recognized effort that followed CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White’s recent pledge to implement confidential sexual assault victim advocates to all 23 CSU campuses.
“We must do all we can, as quickly as we can, to prevent sexual violence, and educate and train our entire community to reduce the prevalence of and dispel the myths surrounding it,” wrote CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White in response to United States Senator Barbara Boxer’s urging that all universities have sexual assault victim’s advocate on every campus.
The new advocate, which is expected to be in place at CSU Stanislaus by Nov. 1, will be a confidential resource for sexual assault victims. The advocate will be responsible for representing the interests of the student, as well as ensuring victims have resources made available to them. The advocate will also supplement prevention training and conduct more in-depth seminars and workshops for students.
“The advocate will not report incidents to the Title IX Coordinator or initiate an investigation,” said campus compliance officer Julie Johnson. “They are strictly a confidential resource.”
The implementation of a confidential sexual assault victim advocate is not CSU Stanislaus’ first or only effort to increase sexual assault prevention on campus. The university has also taken a number of other measures, including the campus’ Warrior Watch Program.
As a bystander intervention program, students involved in the Warrior Watch Program use knowledge, awareness, and skills to identify and prevent high risk behaviors. These students can be seen on and off campus sporting a Warrior Watch program t-shirt and a literal warrior watch on their wrists. Johnson hopes that these two symbols will help other students identify members from the Warrior Watch Program and use them as a resource.
“We’re taking it to the next level with this group of students, who will hopefully be able to influence the behaviors of their peers by being the example and being the one that will speak up,” said Johnson.
Members of the Warrior Watch program are trained to recognize alcohol poisoning and overdose, identify and report discrimination and harassment, intervene with their peers, and empower students to take care of themselves.
Other preventative efforts provided by the university include awareness education programs and training in Rape Aggression Defense, a hands-on, physical self-defense workshop that is available every semester free of charge.
The university has also dictated an array of response efforts for victims, including counseling, mental health, and other services. These resources allow victims of sex-based offenses to attend confidential on-campus counseling through Psychological Counseling Services.
“Our efforts are designed to raise awareness of sexual violence and how it impacts students,” said Johnson. “We want students to know where they can find resources on campus, and more importantly, prevent the reoccurrence.”