MSUToday
Published: Aug. 12, 2019

Workgroup highlights progress on RVSM issues

By: Jason Cody University Communications office: (517) 432-0924 cell: (734) 755-0210 codyja@msu.eduContact(s): Chris Chapman University Communications office: (517) 355-2281 Chapm346@msu.edu

A new report from MSU’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup summarizes the issues facing campus in its response to RVSM, outlines the workgroup’s initiatives and ends with pending recommendations.

The workgroup, formed in February 2018, includes faculty, administrators, staff and students who have extensive content expertise in relationship violence and sexual misconduct. The report, prepared for new MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., can be found at go.msu.edu/dJP.

The workgroup was charged with being a critical resource, gathering input and making trauma-informed, survivor-centered recommendations.

One of the first recommendations was the creation of the Prevention, Outreach and Education Department. The new department’s director, Kelly Schweda, is a workgroup member who has been working in the prevention of sexual and relationship violence at MSU for 11 years.

“We are pleased that MSU now has a dedicated office to support training and education of students, faculty and staff,” she said.

Carrie Moylan, assistant professor in the School of Social Work, highlighted the workgroup’s Know More @ MSU Survey.

“The workgroup pushed for the first truly campuswide survey on RVSM issues and is looking forward to sharing the results with the MSU community later this fall, with the goal of using the data to improve services, prevention and culture change,” she said.

Tana Fedewa, director of the Sexual Assault Program at MSU, said she is specifically proud of the workgroup’s creation of the MSU Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Advisory Board.

The board, which includes students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members, is working to support the creation of a new university program for survivors to receive medical forensic exams, including sexual assault kit evidence collection.

The MSU SANE will open in 2020 and provide free, 24-hour response medical care for sexual assault survivors to address the gap in reliable post-assault medical services on campus.

The RVSM workgroup continues to solicit feedback from the community and provide suggestions to improve university programs and policies. Its report highlights efforts made by others at the student, college and university level to address RVSM issues.

One key aspect of the workgroup’s efforts has been education. The Know More campaign, created in conjunction with the MSU Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance, aims to raise awareness on how to prevent relationship violence and sexual misconduct, support those affected and help people find support resources on campus.

Find out more about the Know More campaign at go.msu.edu/vJP.

To begin to overcome the institutional trauma and betrayal found at MSU, the report outlines 10 steps to displaying institutional courage, including going beyond civil and criminal regulations, responding to survivors with empathy, educating leadership and being transparent.

The report emphasizes that the MSU community needs to learn from and support positive changes already underway, while acknowledging there is still work to be done to promote culture change.