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Shift in Training for Incoming Students

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By ASHLEY GUERRERA
Title Ix/Clery Compliance Coordinatior
aguerrera@newhaven.edu

Step UP: Bystander to UPstander
Previous incoming students were given the opportunity to attend a presentation on bystander intervention and sexual violence during Welcome Week or at pre-set times in the Violence Prevention & Intervention Center in Sheffield Hall.

As of December 2014, the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence against Women (OVW) Campus Grant finalized and the Violence Prevention & Intervention (VPI) Program transitioned into the Dean of Students Office under the supervision of the Title IX/Clery Compliance Coordinator.

The VPI Program has historically been responsible for the first-year and transfer (‘incoming’) student presentations on sexual assault and bystander intervention, based on the University of New Hampshire’s Bringing in the Bystander Program.

The grant also supported Violence Prevention & Intervention Peer Educators that assisted student programming on sexual violence, and various University departments by acting as resources at potentially triggering events.

Incoming student presentations were delivered by the VPI Peer Educators, who were annually trained in issues of sexual violence, including: sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking, bystander intervention, and campus/local resources.

The 2015-16 academic year has begun with many enhancements to the mandatory incoming student training. The VPI Peer Educators were renamed the Wellness Peer Educators in an effort to help the campus community have an understanding of the Peer Educator role in enhancing the wellness of students.

Furthermore, the Wellness Peer Educators have a renewed focus on developing trainings for target populations on campus and collaborating with Recognized Student Organizations to develop appropriate awareness and prevention programming related to sexual violence.

Consistent with the change to the Peer Educator name, the VPI Center was renamed the Wellness Center.

These name changes not only assist the program in the transition from the completed grant, but are intended to encourage students to think of sexual violence and bystander education as a component of wellness.

Beyond the name changes, the incoming student presentations are now housed in a University Course titled, Step Up: From Bystander to UPstander, modeled after the University of Arizona’s Step UP! Program.

All incoming students were pre-registered for this course, and provided a date and time that fit into their respective course schedule.

This new and strategic approach to the incoming student presentations was made in an effort to alleviate class scheduling conflicts with presentation times, affirm the importance of the providing this information to students, and provide a more collaborative approach to ensure higher overall compliance with the training.
Step Up: From Bystander to UPstander is a course focused on educating students about the continuum of sexual violence, introducing bystander intervention with safe and effective intervention tips, discussing rape culture as it affects college campuses, and providing information about UNH’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.

The presentation is also designed to educate students about the University’s affirmative consent policy, while providing the information for resources on campus and locally.

Although a mandatory program for all incoming students, the University of New Haven believes that the information contained in the Step Up presentations is information all students ought to be aware of.

To learn more about the changes made to the ‘incoming student’ presentations ask a Wellness Peer Educator or the Title IX/Clery Compliance Coordinator at aguerrera@newhaven.edu.

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Shift in Training for Incoming Students