MCTC’s Commitment to Sexual Assault Prevention Training Increases Student Safety
MCTC prides itself on providing access to the transformative power of education in a diverse and dynamic downtown environment. At the core of that environment are strong student-centered values grounded in inclusion, community, excellence and integrity. An outgrowth of those values is a connected group of people who care about the safety of their campus.
So when the Minnesota Legislature passed a law in 2015 recommending students complete training on sexual-assault prevention, MCTC was already offering hands-on training to students, faculty and staff to help ensure a safer campus. This fall, the Legislature is requiring college students throughout Minnesota to complete the training within the first 10 days of school.
“The new law, reinforces MCTC’s core values and what we’ve already been doing,” said Maya Sullivan, MCTC director of Student Support Services & Compliance/Title IX Coordinator. “The training enables us to provide a consistent educational message about sexual violence and sexual harassment, ensures our campus community knows how to report an incident and ultimately keeps our campus safer.”
The online Personal Empowerment through Self Awareness (PETSA) training used at MCTC is a collaborative effort featuring powerful videos that deal honestly and frankly with sexual assault and rape. The training video, partially produced by MCTC Cinema students and partially starring MCTC students, is designed to be informative and educational and is based on rape and sexual assault reduction and prevention data.
“The mandatory sexual violence and sexual harassment training is critical to our safety efforts for our students and employees,” said Curt Schmidt, MCTC director of Public Safety who has seven full-time officers on his team who understand the importance of having the entire community assist in providing for a safe campus environment.
“The training provides awareness and empowers our MCTC community to be critical observers, make decisions that result in positive outcomes, and promotes safety on campus through effective bystander intervention. It is very important that our campus community is aware of potential safety issues and understands options to effectively and quickly resolve them.”
Reporting incidents of sexual violence or sexual harassment on campus, or incidents involving members of the MCTC community that occur off campus, is simple. Reports can be submitted, in person, online or via a mobile application. Reports may be submitted anonymously or with contact information.
Colleges throughout Minnesota will be required to report statistical data on sexual assault complaints, as part of the revised law. Beginning in October, MCTC will provide annual reports to the state on the number of sexual violence and sexual assault cases investigated, as well as breakdowns on whether anyone was disciplined or received more than a warning at the close of the investigation. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education will collect the reports and later make the numbers public.
In addition to the new online training, MCTC students will have additional opportunities to explore this important issue beyond the required online training. During Student Success Day, Sept. 14, a session titled, “I didn’t know THAT was Sexual Harassment or Sexual Violence!” will provide an interactive opportunity for students to learn more about sexual harassment and sexual violence. On Oct. 24, the Student Support Center will host “Domestic Violence, Bullying and Sexual Exploitation Day, an event which will include a resource fair and presentations on the related topics of domestic violence, sexual exploitation and bullying.
MCTC Student Life is vibrant and the campus community continuously goes above and beyond in offering students opportunities to engage in what they care about. Green Dot Day, for example, is a campus initiative that encourages community violence prevention. MCTC faculty, staff and students host this important event every year to encourage members of the College and the Loring Park and Twin Cities communities to join together to celebrate safety, diversity and anti-violence. Hundreds of people gather at MCTC to sing, tell stories, share community resources and rally against power-based personal violence.
“MCTC hopes the training alongside other campus initiatives will continue to build awareness and encourage people who have experienced sexual violence and sexual harassment to come forward,” said Maya Sullivan who understands most incidents go unreported to law enforcement. When we’re able to learn and talk about important issues, it increases the likelihood of a safer campus and further solidifies the mission, vision and values of our organization.