The University of Central Arkansas Police Department is holding a National Campus Safety Awareness Month through the month of September.
The week of Sept. 6-8 focused mainly on sexual violence prevention and awareness.
According to UCA’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, sexual assault is defined as any unwanted action of a sexual behavior, including any sexual act conducted against an individual without consent.
The programs offered during NCSAM are national and universities all over the county participate.
The classes are open to students, faculty and staff but are not mandatory.
According to Public Relations and Information Officer Michael Hopper, UCAPD will offer self-defense classes several times throughout the month.
These classes provide a “hands-on” experience and allow students to practice some techniques they learn.
The situational awareness class will give students advice on how to be more aware of their environments.
UCAPD will also offer a predator behavior class.
“The predator behavior class is one I have recently developed,”
Hopper said. “It is a combination of the situational awareness class and information about how predators tend to operate.”
According to Hopper, the recent sexual assault cases on campus have not influenced the way the classes are given or how often.
“We encourage anyone who wants to attend any of the programs we offer to contact us,” said Hopper. “We will do whatever we can get the class set up for them.”
The rest of NCSAM will focus on theft prevention, personal safety and drug and alcohol awareness.
Another way UCA provides information about sexual assault is through Student Empower Plus hosted by Workplace Answers.
SEP is an online training course that covers sexual violence topics and provides information on Title IX.
According to UCA’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, Title IX protects students from sexual discrimination.
SEP also provides information on reporting sexual discrimination.
This is UCA’s third year implementing the online sexual misconduct training.
The training is not mandatory but students are encouraged to participate.
“It is so important for our students to take advantage of all the training and educational opportunities we offer with regards to campus safety,” Associate Vice President of Communications Christina Madsen said. “We do our best to be sure that our students are educated and informed on the best possible ways to keep themselves safe at all times.”
According to interim Title IX Coordinator Graham Gillis, the training is going well and SEP will continue to be given to students and UCA continues to work with Workplace Answers to make improvements to the program.
According to Gillis, UCA is open to suggestions for new training methods and opportunities not yet available.
“Students should know that UCA takes sexual assault very seriously, as evidenced by implementing these programs almost three years ago,” Gillis said. “UCA is not going to back down.”
According to Gillis, UCA is constantly making improvements to its programming.
Gillis said he believes that it is well ahead of most universities in this problem.
For more information concerning NCSAM visit ucapd. org/index.php/national-campus- safety-awareness-month-2/.
For more information on SEP and student training contact Gillis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Title IX visit uca.edu/titleix/title-ix- coordinator/.
photo by Lauren Swaim