Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UHS unveils $400,000 initiative to curb sexual assault, gender-based violence

New programs would focus on prevention, bystander intervention; must be approved by student government, chancellor
Herald archives

University Health Services announced Tuesday it is seeking funding for initiatives focused on gender-based violence prevention within Greek life and the campus community as whole.

Sarah Van Orman, UHS executive director, unveiled plans at a press conference to address 12 issues a UW task force identified to curb sexual assaults. Using new and existing programs, UHS aims to improve prevention strategies, increase bystander intervention and change the culture around gender-based violence, she said.

The new efforts UHS suggested would be implemented in the fall and cost University of Wisconsin $400,000, Van Orman said. UHS requested a $45 increase to student segregated fees Monday.


UHS seeks to improve mental health, sexual assault services — but at an increased cost to students

Bystander intervention

If funding is approved, UHS would launch a new program called Green Dot aimed at increasing bystander intervention in situations where there is a risk of sexual assault, Van Orman said.

Evidence from implementation at other institutions points to at least a marginal increase in bystander activeness as a result of the training. Van Orman said she hopes to implement it at all campus levels.

According to Green Dot’s website, the training would focus on fostering a personal connection to the community, educating participants on current research and honing practical intervention skills.

In addition, Van Orman said a concerted effort will be made to change the way students and faculty view the role of bystanders within the campus community through advertising and training.

Rejecting silence: Student survivors take control, speak out on sexual violence

Housing programs

A significant portion of sexual assaults occur in campus housing, Van Orman said. Therefore, efforts to expand the Tonight program will hopefully better educate students on dealing with issues of consent. She said there is a comprehensive effort to provide 15 peer educators and additional prevention staff to bolster the attitudes the program teaches.

Part of this effort includes “social norming,” which Van Orman said is a concerted effort to improve the sexual norms on campus and their importance.

“If someone says something rape-affirming we step in, we say something and those are things we can deliver,” she said.

Greek community efforts

Fraternities and sororities are also making a renewed effort to combat sexual assault through training and the creation of new positions. Sarah Laudon, a student on the Title IX advisory board, said Greek life efforts include creating special training for leaders within each organization on how to support and advise victims of sexual assault.

‘Finally taking action’: Greek community to implement first major plan to address sexual assault

Alcohol use

The UW and Greek community are also addressing the risks excessive alcohol use pose in cases of potential sexual assault.

Among Greek organizations, Laudon said there is a concerted effort to ensure bylaws concerning drinking and sexual assault definitions are clearly defined.

Van Orman said mandatory Alcohol Edu courses for housing residents combined with more stringent housing policies and increased enforcement will help combat these issues. She said it is important to educate students on the role alcohol often plays in sexual assault.

UHS must gain approval from student government before going to the chancellor for approval of new funding.

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