POE summit engages faculty, staff and grad students on sexual and relationship violence prevention

April 8, 2019 - Chris Chapman

One in three women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

This was one opening statement at the Creating Culture Change Through Collaboration Summit – a daylong speaker series and workshop hosted by MSU’s Prevention, Outreach and Education (POE) department March 29 – where faculty, staff and grad students from more than 70 different departments were empowered to take an active role in ending sexual and relationship violence on campus and aid in healing for those affected by it.

Though women aren’t the only group affected by relationship violence and sexual misconduct (RVSM), that statistic alone was enough to captivate the audience before hearing speakers and panelists share their research, personal testimonies and new practices to challenge power and privilege on campus and also to help create a “culture of care” For survivors.

“We have been hearing from many faculty, staff and graduate students that they feel we are not having enough of these critical conversations on campus. Many times, our faculty or staff members are the first person that a student may reach out to,” said Kelly Schweda, director of POE. “It is critical that everyone feel they have the tools and university support to help survivors.”

Before closing out the program, attendees were given time to ask questions of a panel of experts from MSU. The panelists included representatives from programs such as Safe Place, MSU Police’s Special Victim’s Unit, the Employee Assistance Program and the MSU Sexual Assault Program. These programs play a critical role in the healing of hundreds of survivors on campus as well as supporting faculty and staff.

Since early 2018, POE has taken the lead in many different relationship violence and sexual misconduct prevention trainings, educating more than 30,000 faculty, staff and students since early 2018.

The POE office promotes safety and improves quality of life by educating members of the MSU campus community on sexual assault and relationship violence, eliminating violence on campus, empowering staff, faculty and students to become advocates for a non-violent community and positively affecting social change. For more information or request a training, visit poe.msu.edu.