New data helps MSU combat sexual assault on campus

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - In the last year, there have been at least nine reported sexual assaults on the campus of Midwestern State University.

MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Keith Lamb said the multi-disciplinary task force is using new data from to combat the issue.

The data comes from a campus climate survey sent out to students last year which helps officials identify how widespread sexual violence is on campus.

Dr. Lamb said the data shows students need to be reminded of the programs that help prevent sexual violence, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse.

"What we need to do systematically is reinforce and make sure these topics are top of mind for students," he said. "They report being not as knowledgeable about campus and community resources of sexual violence."

That is compared to more than 20 universities nationally.

Dr. Lamb said data also shows students do not trust telling their classmates they were victims of sexual assault.

"Across the country, peers are not confident or students are not confident in their peers competent or empathetic response," he said.

Dr. Lamb said MSU students did score higher in knowing how and when to intervene compared to the other schools but it is still not enough.

Dr. Lamb said MSU students reported trusting campus confidants with handling these situations more than students in other national institutions but MSU students still ranked lower than the other seven Texas colleges surveyed.

One of the programs, MSU utilizes to inform first-year students about several issues is Think About It. It is a mandatory course for undergrad students, aged 18-24, entering their first semester.

"It's highly interactive," Assoc. Vice President for Student Affairs Matthew Park said. "It includes real-life scenarios and videos, questions, even almost a gamification model."

Park also said it gives MSU officials another layer of understanding of some of the student's behaviors and 'where the risks can be presented.'

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