State of State Hosts Student Affairs Town Hall On Sexual Assault

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State of State held its first event of the year yesterday — a Student Affairs Town Hall. The event consisted of a four-person panel: Student Activities Research and Assessment Director Deborah Lee, Penn State’s Title IX Coordinator Paul Apicella, UPUA President Terry Ford, and Stand for State Community Engagement Representative Jesse Weber.

Each panelist briefly discussed his/her role within the university and answered questions from the event’s attendees.

Lee was the first to speak. Her office frequently sends out surveys to students at University Park and across the commonwealth to better understand student perceptions of alcohol consumption, the LGBTQ environment, and the general campus climate. The most recent campus climate survey looked at how students perceive sexual assault and sexual misconduct.

Apicella was up next. As Title IX coordinator, Apicella assures that Penn State is providing the necessary resources to address issues of sexual harassment and sexual violence. In a recent survey conducted in conjunction with Lee, they discovered 27% of women at University Park have been sexually assaulted. In order to combat this, his office responds to reports of sexual assaults as quickly as possible, makes sure that students who are victims of sexual assault receive any necessary academic accommodations and psychological counseling, and educates students about sexual assault awareness and conducts trainings on how to handle sexual assaults.

Following Apicella, UPUA President Terry Ford discussed the role of the University Park Undergraduate Association and its goal to represent students’ interests on campus and with university administration. Ford noted that as the bridge between the administration and students, he’s committed to making sure Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) receives the necessary funding and resources to serve students in need of crisis intervention and counseling.

Jesse Weber, the organizer behind Stand for State’s Action Week, was last to speak. During Action Week, his organization encourages Penn Staters to do as many “green dots” as possible. To date, they’ve collected over 11,000 green dots from students. Each green dot represents an action someone has taken to create a safer campus. Weber encouraged students to do as many green dots as possible including taking a pledge contribute to an environment where sexual and relationship violence is unacceptable, educating oneself on what you should do in the event of a sexual assault, and even participating in a 3-hour workshop about how to act as a bystander if you see someone who’s been a victim of sexual assault.

Students who wish to learn more about bystander intervention are encouraged to visit State for State’s website and Penn State’s Title IX Resources page.

Photo By: Patrick Cines
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Patrick Cines

Patrick is a senior Marketing major from Princeton, NJ. He typically writes about politics, tech, and business. Patrick is strong believer in Henry Grunwald's famous quote, "Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air." You can follow him on Twitter at @patrickcines, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

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