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.
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.
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. BRONTE: THIS DOES NOT JIBE WITH THE STATEMENT TWO SENTENCES DOWN: “12.8% white”
Additionally, the number of disabled students reporting assault were almost twice the number of students who do not consider themselves disabled, 21% v. 11%
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)