June 2-PAC: The Aurora Center

The meeting was called to order at 6:10 PM by Chair, Larry Ranallo.  19 people attended.

SPEAKER: Leading off a series of reports on support services available in Minneapolis to  victims of assault, Bronte Stewart-New, Legal Advocacy Coordinator described the menu of services available  from  the Aurora Center, University of Minnesota.

The Aurora Center  currently has 67 full time staff.  Many volunteer first and then are offered jobs at  the center.  Ms Stewart-New volunteered 4 years and was hired early in 2017.

The first step toward reducing the incidence of inappropriate sexual events on campus is to define terms.  The U of MN  distinguishes harassment, assault, relationship violence, harm, stalking, and consent.

Harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances that are presented as a condition of employment or academic advancement, or which have the effect of interfering with an individual’s performance,  or which create a hostile or offensive environment in any University event.

Sexual assault is actual, attempted or threatened sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent.  This includes but is not limited to intercourse. Rape is sexual intercourse without  freely given consent.

Relationship violence is causing physical harm, or threats of physical harm that rise in a personal, intimate relationship.

Harm means engaging in conduct that endangers OR threatens to endanger the physical and/or mental health, safety or welfare of another person and includes (but is not limited to) threatening, stalking, harassing, intimidating, or assaulting.

Stalking is behavior directed at a specific person that is unwanted and which would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.  At the U of MN, the focus is on the impact on the targeted person, not  the intent of the doer.

Per U of MN official policy, consent is informed, freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to engage in sexual activity, expressed in clear and unambiguous words or actions.

Prevalence of  assault reported by U of MN enrolled students, not limited to assault while enrolled: in 2015 the Center conducted a Health and Safety self-reporting survey.  34% of students contacted responded to the survey.  [EQ: Because 34% responded, the percents should NOT be taken as representing the whole student body. I think it’s safe to assume that many of the students reporting are impacted in some personal way, but others might be responding only because they were asked to do so.  That is a guess on my part and Bronte did not suggest it.)

1)  24% reported being sexually assaulted.  The breakdown was 11% of all males and 32 % of all females
2) 19% reported domestic violence.  The breakdown was 12% of all males and 23% of all females.

3) Student perpetrators were 11% (again, this is self-reporting)

When the survey limited to reports of assault during enrollment, the picture changes slightly:

1) 6% of males reported post enrollment assault
2) 23% of females reported assault since enrollment
3) 34% of GLBT or gender-non-conforming students reported assault since enrollment.
These reports parallel similar reports from other  universities in percentage of reported assault.  In every category, the numbers were higher for students of color than for others.

Additionally, the number of disabled students reporting assault were almost twice the number of students who do not consider themselves disabled, 21% v. 11%

Finally, when the report is sorted by race/ethnicity, another picture emerges, as 7% of reporters were Asian, 11.1% were Pacific Islander, 11.5% were black or African American, 12.8% white, 14.9% Hispanic, but 21.7% were Native American or Alaska Native.

Once a person decides to seek help, Aurora provides immediate and long term assistance on many levels.  There is a 24/7/365 help line staffed by volunteers with staff backup.  Aurora provides crisis counseling, support groups, and a substantial menu of advocacy services, not limited to dealing with academic impact, helping with housing, assisting with medical care, supporting a victim during police interviews, and helping with legal matters like obtaining restraining orders and other legal affairs.

Advocacy is the broadest service.  Advocacy begins with immediate emotional support to sexual assault victims, which is continued as long as necessary.  An advocate’s goals are to help the client avoid re-victimization (insuring fair treatment), to coordinate local  campus and community resources and programs.  The Aurora program is completely free to the client and completely confidential.  Advocates do not make decisions for a client, but carefully lay out options so the client is able to mindfully make his or her own fully informed decisions.

People affiliated with the University have  two first level options, but services may flow from one to the other.

First: Seek Support, don’t report.  Support is available through the Aurora Center (612.626.9111), through Boynton Mental Health Services (which also has a 24-hour crisis line at 612.301.4673) or from student Counseling Services.

Second: Report.  The Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action office is the strongest place to find help for violation of Title IX clauses,  Another place is to get help from the police (Emergency is a 911 call and non-emergency is 612.624.COPS 624.2677)


Sgt. Beth Mota gave the State of the Precinct update.  The open house was well attended.  They served some 600 hot dogs and burgers so that’s the minimum attendance.   The bike give away got a lot of attention this year.  The sky was threatening all day, but right in time for the open house, the clouds parted and the sun was shining.  We’ll take that for an omen.

Sgt. Mota presented the 2nd Precinct Chaplain, Pastor Brett Miller,  and his congregation at Southeast Christian, a special Thank-You for their extra help to the Precinct during the University annual Spring Jam.

Looking at crime in the Second Precinct:  a disagreement between two roommates ended with one shooting the other.   Burglaries are a constant, but especially persistent in NE and close to the U campus, because a lot of people still are not locking their doors or windows, and  are leaving valuables in their cars in clear view.   Robberies had been down until 3 or 4 juvenile males and 1 juvenile female decided to try it using a baseball bat as a weapon.  Prompt reporting and good descriptions led  two of the youth being apprehended. This incident happened on the border between SE Como and Marcy-Holmes (MPD case report is 17-216009)

COURTWATCH UPDATES: Sarah Becker and Deb Russell reporting :
Kristopher Canty had a 6/8 hearing and was released for inpatient treatment; Jason Enrivo has 2 bench warrants issued in June; Kevin Foster was convicted on 6/5 after being found competent; Johnny Hall has a bench warrant issued 2/10  Steven Haney had a 6/ 12 hearing ; Daniel Heacock was found incompetent on 5/9 and is at liberty, pending 11-7 hearing ; Paula Heille has a bench warrant issued 5/10; Mahad Ismail has a pretrial on 7/19;  (3rd Pct); Jarid Jovanovich has a pretrial set for 6/20, remains in custody, and is looking at a lengthy prison time; .Kenneth Nelson has a hearing on 7/17 in Edina and 8/28 in Minneapolis (jury trial scheduled in August; Sharkina Nickens remains in custody and had a 6/19 first appearance in court; Dae Nisell has been found competent but  may be sentenced to time served; Ryan Pilarski had a 6/13 hearing; Joshua Poplawski was in custody but is out now (6/15 he was found competent for trial  on the 5th degree drug possession charge); Ashley Sage had a 6/14 hearing, but seems to be coming around with stricter supervision;  Michael Zaccardi continued to 7/21

no updates: Cody Corbin, Curtis Laroque , Albert Moen, Robert Schroeder

Taken off the list: Jarid Jovanovich, Jason Tucker.


REPORTS: Treasurer’s report, April minutes were approved.


NEW BUSINESS:  This was Deb Russell’s last official meeting with the Second Precinct PAC.  In July, our new rep in the County Attorney’s office will be Judi Cole.  Judi urged folks  organizing a NNO event contact the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office for a drop in by an attorney.  In 2016 230 members of the Office visited over 200 block parties and gatherings.  You can request a visit at http://www.hennepinattorney.org/prevention/community-partnerships/national-night-out   or just go to hennepinattorney.org and enter national night out in the SEARCH.

Meeting was adjourned 7:20

Reminder:  You can find notes and announcement from previous 2-PAC meetings on our homepage:   https://courtwatch2pac.com/


We always need ideas for 2017 programs; what city policing, livability and related services are you curious about?


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