The sexual assault committee was created this academic year to coordinate the efforts of many student organizations on campus to prevent sexual assault. While The Miami Student editorial board does support the mission of the sexual assault committee, the group needs pressure applied to ensure it stays on task and achieves tangible goals in a timely fashion. In addition, the committee must recognize that its efforts must go beyond a brochure for first-year students and a Web site. Other procedures must be implemented to reinforce both proactive efforts to inform students of the issue and reactive efforts to offer help to sexual assault victim-survivors.
The issue of sexual assault on Miami University’s campus appears to be on the back burner, as not all Miami students seem to be properly educated about precautions they should take. It is sad to think that another sexual assault is the only catalyst for change on Miami’s campus. The committee needs to work with students to prevent exactly that – another sexual assault. While the existence of the committee is an encouraging sign and certainly better than no action at all, communication is crucial for the program’s success.
The committee needs to ensure that its measures inform not only first-year students at Miami, but upperclassmen as well, and that the information is proactive, as well as reactive. Even if the committee is successful in meeting its goal of developing a brochure for first-year orientation, that brochure will be only one of many that first-year students may casually browse. Additionally, the brochure only targets first-year students as its audience. Upperclassmen also need to be reminded about sexual assault, particularly those living off campus. In the same vein, the Web site will likely only be used by those who have already been victims of sexual assault crimes. The brochure and Web site seem to be passive measures and not proactive enough in their approach to combating sexual assault.
Coordinated efforts among student organizations on campus have not yet been realized either. While this was a stated goal of the task force, no coordination has been observable throughout the current academic year. As a hypothetical example, the committee could easily coordinate groups together to host a speaker or an event to educate Miami students on the important issue of sexual assault. A coordinated effort that highlights communication among students will go a long way toward ensuring future sexual assaults are averted on Miami’s campus. Additionally, both student and faculty members of the committee have multiple connections throughout the university, but are simply not using the resources available to them to broadcast the important message of preventing sexual assault. Other resources should be used to make Miami students more aware of sexual assault and this is an issue that should always be at the forefront of students’ minds.