Northern Michigan University will receive $30,000 in funding from the Michigan State Police campus sexual assault grant program. First Lady Sue Snyder recently announced the awards that will be distributed to 22 Michigan colleges and universities. The grant program encourages new approaches designed to change the overall culture of sexual assault among the college-age population. A key and innovative component of NMU’s initiative, “End Sexual Violence: 50 Shades of K(no)w,” will be outreach to regional school districts to raise awareness before students enter college.
“We intend to provide training to educators at partner secondary schools and also deliver workshops and presentations at the schools related to intimate partner violence and sexual assault,” said Alan McEvoy, project director and head of the NMU sociology/anthropology department. “Given that NMU recruits a significant percentage of its students from the UP, it makes sense to begin the discussion early on with those students in the hope of mitigating this issue, which is endemic to university life. This multi-faceted program demonstrates Northern’s strong commitment to effective prevention and intervention.”
Erica Goff, NMU director of grants and contracts, said, “This is a way to get ahead of the curve in terms of mindset and culture. Alan also will train members of NMU student organizations partnering in this effort to become trainers for sexual violence workshops in the schools. That way, high school students are engaging with people closer to their peer age. We’ll also make it interactive with mock trials, which exemplify the complications of this issue. There’s a lot of gray area; it’s not all black and white. Local law enforcement, legal counsel and judges will assist with the mock trials.”
Partners in the school outreach component include the NMU initiative include Marquette Alger Regional Educational Service Agency (MARESA) and the Upper Peninsula Center for Educational Development. Student organizations participating include the Social Justice Committee, the Health Promotion Society, ASNMU, Outlook and Queers & Allies.
McEvoy said there also will be training for NMU faculty, staff and coaches on Title IX and Clery requirements, reporting policies and procedures, recognizing signs of trauma, appropriate responses to student disclosures and available resources for sexual assault survivors that will help them complete their academic work.
Preliminary work on the initiative will begin immediately and training will get underway next semester.