Wittenberg University instituted its Sexual Conduct Awareness Program to teach students how to be aware of their surroundings and situations that could occur, as well as to educate students on how to set boundaries. The theme for the sexual conduct programming this year is Respect and Consent. The goal of this programming is to teach students how to respect oneself enough to set boundaries and to know what is and what is not consent.
Director of Business Services, Donna Picklesimer, feels strongly about ensuring all students are informed by the program. “Last year it was not as intentional. This year’s program has assembled people together in a much more intentional way so we made sure to get the awareness and prevention information to all students.” She also knows that because students are involved in a variety of activities, they are likely to hear about the program several times. “[We] want to make different presentations so you’re not hearing the same thing over and over again.”
Krystal Reeb, Director of Student Conduct, agrees that the program this year is better than in previous years. “Last year, we had a lot of good programs occur, but they weren’t as organized as they could be. This year, we’re going in with more of a game plan.” She hopes to stress the message of “How can you make sure you’re safe?” with the wide variety of programs being offered this year.
In the past, the program has partnered with organizations such as No Woman Left Behind to show statistics and help students to recognize the signs of a bad situation so they can protect themselves and others. It has also encouraged students to have a “group of six”, six people (i.e. friends, family, the Wittenberg Police) to be able to call if one finds one’s self in an emergency situation and needs assistance.
The purpose of this programming is to ensure every student knows boundaries before putting ones self into possibly dangerous situations-namely those concerning alcohol.
For the 2012-‘13 school year, 23 cases of misconduct incidents, six verbal harassment complaints, and 17 alleged assaults were reported. 100 percent of sexual misconduct cases that year concerned alcohol. More cases were reported than in years past. Picklesimer and Reeb hope to stress through this program that if something does happen, it is best to seek help from the Sexual Conduct Board.
Reeb commented on the student body’s active participation in the program by saying, “It’s more the kids than administration. They show such maturity. Our students care and the community we live in, they’re proud of…[they] take time to help others and serve others, and I hope they keep going and keep pushing.”
Picklesimer hopes all students will take this year’s programming seriously and get involved. “No one person or one department or one organization will solve this problem. It takes every single person being aware of this problem around them. It does impact all of us.”