Officials at Monroe Community College hosted a day-long seminar Wednesday to discuss how colleges can educate students and help stop sexual assault before it happens.
The event kicked off with a morning keynote address from Michele Jawando, vice president at the Center for American Progress, who previously served as general counsel and senior advisor to New York State Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Kristen Lowe, who is the assistant to the president for Title IX and Inclusion at MCC, said through such pertinent discussions, the institution aims to promote a culture in which preventing sexual harassment and assault is everyone’s responsibility.
“It begins and ends with students, and administration providing the resources and opportunities, and training, and making that a priority,” said Lowe.
Another goal at the sexual assault prevention conference was to empower bystanders to speak up.
In an afternoon speech, Gary B. Kelly, technical lieutenant for the New York State Police Campus Sexual Assault Victims Unit, said his key message to colleges and law enforcement was the need to work collaboratively so that victims feel confident and comfortable with their response.
“One of the main reasons victims don’t report, is they feel police and others aren’t going to do anything to help them,” Kelly said. “So we need to change that culture, and change our approach to be more supportive, so that they’re more confident in the criminal justice system and more confident in reporting to the institutions.”
Panelists included Title IX coordinators, nurses, students, and other sexual assault prevention professionals.