Culture Change - HSU builds efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus

North Coast Journal, February 25, 2015

As public outrage and awareness intensify, universities around the nation are grappling with one of campus life's cultural mainstays: sexual violence. As acceptance of the scale of the problem grows and attitudes begin to shift, colleges are being scrutinized for a lack of disciplinary action or even investigation into frequent assaults on students.

No student on any campus is safe from sexual assault, but learning institutions are finally, slowly, beginning to address the problem. Humboldt State University has been ahead of that curve — the university's Sexual Assault Prevention Committee, made up of faculty, administrators, community groups and law enforcement, has been around for decades, and was reinvigorated about nine years ago under the leadership of critical race, gender and sexuality studies department chair Kim Berry and communications department chair Maxwell Schnurer. As national attitudes began to lurch forward, HSU garnered a significant grant, launched a student awareness campaign, updated its sexual assault policy and brought modern training to its police officers. Committee members have praised the administration for its dedication to solutions as many colleges have come under fire for practicing rug-sweeping as a PR strategy.

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