New program combats sexual assaults on campus
Striving to combat sexual violence on campus and adhere to federal mandates, UH has implemented a new sexual misconduct awareness program called Salutations.
Salutations is an online training program that aims to teach students how to recognize, prevent and report sexual violence on campus.
“We wanted to create something that uniquely fit the culture of UH, that included our students and issues that are pertinent to our campus,” Richard Baker, the UH System Associate Vice Chancellor for Equal Opportunity Services, said.
Its name, Salutations, is a play off its definition – a gesture of respect, homage or polite recognition, especially one made to or by a person when arriving or departing.
Salutations features UH students discussing what is considered sexual misconduct and how to report it. One of the students featured is English literature senior Jonni Powers.
“I jumped at the chance to be involved,” Powers said. “ I think this program is a long time coming.”
Completion of Salutations is required by all new UH students — freshmen, transfers or new graduate students — before completing their first semester at UH. Powers believes this requirement doesn’t go far enough.
“One of the only problems with Salutations is that it’s only for new students and not all students,” Powers said.
The program was incorporated by UH to comply with new federal standards addressing sexual assaults on college campuses and the reporting of those assaults.
In 2013, Congress passed an amendment, the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.
According to the Clery Center, the SaVE Act will update the Clery Act by focusing on four areas: transparency in annual campus crime statistic reports, accountability in clarification of institutional disciplinary procedures, education by instructing universities to provide programming for students and employees and collaboration between the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education and Health and Human Services.
LGBT Resource Center Director Lorraine Schroeder thinks that UH’s response to adhering to the new federal mandate has been far better than other universities.
“There are a lot of schools who are only doing the minimum requirement in complying with the federal mandate, and UH has taken a more proactive stance in its response to preventing sexual violence on campus,” Schroeder said.