By an overwhelming margin, members of the University of Maryland Senate passed a bill to expand the university’s sexual assault training programs. First through third year students would be required to have this training. So would university faculty and staff.
The bill requires the approval of UMD President Wallace Loh to take effect. The additional training would start in fall 2018 and be implemented completely by 2021.
Currently, UMD mandates online sexual assault training for first-year and graduate students, faculty and staff. The new program would require in-person training for incoming students and additional training in subsequent years, with a focus on “the complex relationship between alcohol and sexual assault” as well as consent and bystander intervention. That training would begin at orientation.
Some members of the senate believe that the proposed policy, which is the product of the Sexual Assault Prevention Task Force, doesn’t go far enough. One member said that it should provide more information to trainees on the “dynamics of sexual violence, rape culture, rape myths, the profile of a perpetrator” rather than focusing on reducing the risk of assault and intervention.
President Loh has championed an increased focus on sexual assault on campus since 2012. However, fewer than half of UMD students surveyed said that they had received information on sexual assault prevention at the school. More alarming perhaps is that reports of sexual misconduct rose by nearly two-thirds between the 2014-15 school year and the following one.
The chairman of the Sexual Assault Prevention Task Force says, “We are trying to achieve a cultural shift of intolerance of sexual assault. We want to send massive and multiple signals that we don’t allow it and that we don’t sanction it.”
No one can argue that sexual harassment or assault should not be tolerated on college campuses or anywhere else. However, as with any type of crime, sometimes innocent people get caught up in the system. If you or a loved one is accused of sexual assault, it’s essential to take the charge seriously. A Maryland criminal defense attorney with experience in this area can provide crucial guidance and protection.
Source: The Diamondback, “UMD Senate votes to mandate sexual assault prevention training for new students,” Lindsey Feingold, accessed Aug. 01, 2017