A student organization identified itself as a valuable resource to sexual assault survivors on campus at Student Services Finance Committee’s eligibility hearing Thursday.
PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment is a registered student organization dedicated to ending sexual assault, dating violence and stalking on the University of Wisconsin campus through workshops, tabling events and awareness campaigns.
After PAVE’s leadership ran through its core programming for the academic year, SSFC Representative Kyle Watter asked what distinguishes the student organization’s services from resources provided by the university to address sexual assault and violence on campus.
PAVE chair Cassidy Schroeder emphasized that because PAVE is led and run by students they are coming at the issues from a perspective more similar to the wider student population.
“The university staff and faculty, I think, come from a different light,” Schroeder said. “A lot of students talk with us about the experiences that people have had, like sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. [Those] are really interpersonal, hard to talk about things, but we stand behind the idea that as students we’re more approachable.”
Schroeder also noted that many of the university staff and faculty may be mandatory reporters, meaning that if a student reveals any sensitive information related to sexual violence, the staff person may have to report the incidence. As students, Schroeder said, they aren’t required to report anything if that isn’t the personal desire of the student.
Pointing out that things like tabling events and bus campaigns usually fall under an advertising budget, Watter asked why the student organization’s bus campaign fell under core programming.
PAVE’s leadership responded that tabling events and larger campaigns are a part of core programming because through targeting and outreach they can raise awareness across the general campus and help survivors connect with the resources they need.
“For a survivor to walk to the SAC to the third floor and to our office might be super intimidating and might act as a barrier to seek resources,” Schroeder said. “We want to be really accessible for the student survivors of sexual assault.”
SSFC will hand down an eligibility decision to PAVE next Monday.