The Gatepost Editorial: Sexual misconduct education necessary

After reviewing the sexual misconduct survey, which was administered to FSU students in December, 2014, we at The Gatepost find the results shocking and horrifying.

Seventy-nine student respondents said they had been sexually assaulted since enrolling at FSU. Seventy-nine. One student is too many and 79 is appalling.

Forty-seven of those respondents were assaulted by a fellow student of FSU.

Only 625 students agreed to take the survey. There are currently 4,600 undergraduate students enrolled at FSU. In reality, the numbers of victims and assailants are much higher. Six students admitted to sexually assaulting someone after enrolling at FSU. This means there are at least six perpetrators among us, taking classes, studying in the library and eating in the dining commons. This is unsettling.

The Gatepost believes that FSU students need more education on sexual misconduct. The FSU community needs to be informed about what sexual assault is, how it can be prevented and what a student’s options are when it comes to reporting.

While there are events, forums and trainings on campus that inform students about sexual misconduct, there is very little publicity to advertise these events to students, and attendance is poor.

While offering these programs to students is the first step, student attendance is the next. Administrators need to advertise these events. Posters, announcements in class, email notifications and social media are all great ways to grab students’ attention. However, it is up to the student body to attend these events. We at The Gatepost urge the students of FSU to participate in these programs, to educate themselves about consent, how to be a positive bystander and how to recognize red flags.

The number of administrators attending these events, such as open forums, can be off-putting to students. Some may find it difficult to share their raw opinions with the group while the administrators are listening. In this case, how much of this conversation is being left out? How many potential solutions remain unheard? We at The Gatepost believe that fewer administrators attending these events would promote an environment more conducive to attendance, participation and problem solving. A student-run event may bring about a more honest conversation and more effective education as well.

We at The Gatepost are aware of the bystander intervention program that is offered to peer mentors, RAs, faculty members and student leaders on campus. We believe this program should be available to all students who express interest in participating.

While creating programs and training to educate students is important, having clear data is crucial. The Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey was flawed, to say the least.

We would like to know the demographics of who is being sexually assaulted and, unfortunately, the survey did not provide those statistics. Nor did the survey provide an exact time frame of when students have been sexually assaulted since attending FSU. That being said, we at The Gatepost can only assume that members of the administration also had difficulty interpreting the survey.

This survey was supposed to provide administrators with valid statistics which would guide them in implementing policies and procedures to help and educate the FSU community on sexual misconduct.

The administration needs to gather new, clearer data and evidence regarding the sexual misconduct climate on campus and use this information to better our community.

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