UVA Darden Student Association Town Hall Examines Sexual Assault
By Julie Daum
In the wake of the outrage sparked by the Rolling Stone article describing the alleged sexual assault of a University of Virginia First Year student at an undergraduate fraternity party, the Darden Student Association (DSA) organized a Not on Our Grounds First Coffee last week and a special town hall meeting Wednesday night at the UVA Darden School of Business.
“The purpose of the town hall was to further educate our community about the sexual assault policy,” said Second Year student Heidi Davies, DSA president, “as well as to hear from professionals and undergraduate student leaders about the initiatives they are undertaking to help generate awareness.”
A panel, moderated by Darden Professor Bobby Parmar (pictured right), was composed of:
- Nick Hine, chair of the UVA Honor Committee
- Brian Head, representative of the UVA chapter of One in Four, an all-male sexual assault peer education group
- Nicole Thomas, UVA program coordinator for prevention in the Office of the Dean of Students
- Jalen Ross, president of the UVA Student Council
“Sexual assault is the most under-reported crime in the nation,” said Hine.
“It operates in the shadows,” said Head. “People don’t want to talk about it, so they push it away. Now, at UVA, we’re in the public eye and in a unique position to get everyone’s attention on this.” One in Four has operated for 12 years at UVA and advocates for support for survivors and for bystander intervention.
“We need to integrate prevention into the University norms,” said Thomas, who joined UVA this fall to work on prevention campaigns such as #HoosGotYourBack, Not on Our Grounds and Take Back the Night events.
The panelists described several ways members of the Darden Community can help:
- Support the UVA Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPs), which offer counseling to students.
- Support the Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA), which provides support to residents of the greater Charlottesville area.
- Comment on the newly proposed Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. The 65-page policy is open for public comment, and the deadline has been extended to 20 December.
- Take the Not on Our Grounds pledge, a UVA initiative to end sexual violence. At the inaugural pledge day at Darden earlier in the fall, Darden had a high percentage of students pledge support for this effort. Those who take the pledge will receive a monthly newsletter with updates on sexual assault prevention and the Green Dot at UVA program. This bystander intervention education program trains faculty, staff and students as leaders and presenters on safe strategies for intervention.
- Join a student advocacy group such as One in Four or One Less, the all-female advocacy group.
- Attend a Take Back the Night event.
“Sexual violence has no place in any community, but certainly not in our community of trust,” said Hine. The UVA Honor Committee, which is entirely student run and legally prevented from taking part in the adjudication of sexual assault, has released a statement on sexual assault, which can be read here.
UVA’s Sexual Violence Education and Resources website provides additional information for the community.
“I know I speak on behalf of all the panel attendees when I say how incredibly informative and helpful the panel discussion was,” said Davies. “I hope that we at Darden, as members of the UVA community, take advantage of the opportunities to support the sexual violence education and prevention efforts currently being undertaken on Central Grounds.”
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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