F&M students participating in Harvard conference suggest anti-sexual assault policy

By Steven Viera, News Editor ||

This weekend, two F&M students will attend a conference allowing students from across the nation to discuss specific policy issues within their communities and develop plans for addressing those issues. The College’s participants have chosen to address sexual assault and have already drafted a policy proposal on how to reduce its occurrence on campus.

F&M participates in Harvard University’s Institute of Politics National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement, an association of 25 colleges and universities from across the nation that aims to foster values of politics, public service, and bipartisanship amongst participants.

This year, G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs and the F&M Poll, selected Kabir Hossain ’16 and Stephanie Fenhagen ’15 to represent F&M at the National Campaign’s conference, “Bipartisan Advocacy: Finding Common Ground,” that aims to have participating students develop policy-based plans to improve an issue in their communities that also affects campuses across America.

The conference is scheduled from Friday, Sept. 26 to Sunday, Sept. 28 at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, MA.

“We hope to use this opportunity to work with existing programs in F&M to combat sexual assault,” Hossain said. “During the program, we will hear from other schools [about] their proposals and, from that, we will try to bring in new ideas that we can incorporate at F&M.”

Hossain and Fenhagen’s proposal emphasizes the importance of informing members of the F&M community about sexual assault. It employs workshops and seminars, especially during first-year orientation, to teach students about the issue, as well as working with existing student groups, such as Men United Against Sexual Assault, or helping to create new groups that can spread awareness and offer resources to students.

After their proposed approach takes effect, Hossain and Fenhagen plan on surveying the student body and looking for changes in the number of reported sexual assaults to test their policy’s efficacy.

“We hope to work with Jan Masland [Title IX coordinator at the College] along with the dons and deans of the College houses,” Hossain added.

Their policy also incorporates communication with other schools to share data as a way to revise the policy’s approach and ability to combat sexual assault at colleges and universities.

“These methods are steps that all schools can take to tackle this issue,” the proposal says. “If all schools work together and spread awareness, we will be able prevent many students from being assaulted.”


Junior Steven Viera is the News Editor. His email is sviera@fandm.edu.

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