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Student Senate Launches Sexual Assault Prevention Program

Photo+credit%3A+SMU+Student+Senate
Photo credit: SMU Student Senate

SMU Student Senate recently introduced a sexual assault prevention program aimed at combatting sexual assault through a variety of initiatives implemented on and off campus.

Sophomore Senator Hope Heiden will lead the program as Director of Sexual Assault Prevention.

Heiden said Student Senate wanted to expand the conversation surrounding sexual assault on campus.

“As students, it’s a taboo topic that we need to address,” Heiden said. “Not addressing it allows it to permeate further.”

The new program includes an initiative called ‘Safe Night Life’, where Student Senate will certify bars and clubs that students frequent as compliant with their sexual assault prevention standards.

The sexual assault prevention guidelines at various venues will be approved by Heiden, the Office of Student Advocacy and Support, the Title IX Committee, SMU PD, and the Women and LGBTQ Center.

“We review those plans, strengthen them, send them back, and then that is what certifies them as a partner of Student Senate,” Heiden said.

She hopes to eventually have a database available to students where they can see what bars and clubs in the area are partnered with Student Senate.

Heiden will also meet with members of all Greek councils and various sports teams to address ways they can prevent sexual assault on campus.

Heiden said she wants organizations on campus to know “that as students, we are not tolerating this anymore.”

Student Body President Austin Hickle said Student Senate wanted to take a different approach when combatting sexual assault.

“We didn’t want to be reactive to sexual assault, we wanted to be proactive,” Hickle said.

Both Hickle and Heiden highlighted the importance of students taking charge of this issue.

“This program is different than anything else because it’s a student-led initiative,” Heiden said.

The program was created with the help of Senators Sydney Castle and Connor Ferguson. Hickle stressed that their contributions were vital to the creation of the program.

Hickle believes their effort as students will make this program successful.

“When it’s something that students are leading, that is when the real impact happens,” Hickle said.

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About the Contributor
Ellis Rold, Editor-in-Chief
As the DC's editor-in-chief, Rold primarily focuses on investigative reporting. She covers SMU Greek life, administration, Student Senate and more. Contact her at [email protected].