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Michigan State’s Prevention, Outreach and Education, or POE program released its annual report from its Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct prevention workshops from the 2020-21 academic year. 

The report compares students’ answers in a pre- and post-workshop survey as well as the overall number of students that participated in the respective POE workshops and announces expansions within the department. 

POE, which is a part of MSU’s Office for Civil Rights, Title IX Education and Compliance, focuses on changing the culture surrounding relationship violence and sexual misconduct, or RVSM, on Michigan State’s campus through workshops for undergraduate students and various student groups such as fraternities and sororities. 

The three main workshops for undergraduate students, Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence, or SARV, prevention training, which is mandatory for first-year students; bystander network training, which is required for second-year students; and mandatory online prevention education for third and fourth-year students, were conducted entirely online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview with The State News in January, POE Director Kelly Schweda said that over the summer, her staff has worked hard to transition all of the programs to a virtual format.

"It's not just a recorded Zoom, somebody talking at you," Schweda said. "It's still as interactive. We trained our peer educators — we have over 80 peer educators — we trained them all on a Zoom platform, and it is all still interactive with peer educators leading the discussions. We had to break it down into smaller groups so that it can be managed that way. We had to run three times more (workshops) across campus so that we can manage it in smaller doses, so it still could be interactive.”

There were 489 SARV workshops that served 9,373 first-year students this year. The education-based workshop focuses on the students’ understanding of relationship violence and highlights university policies and resources. 

The statistics from the annual report indicate that the SARV workshops worked in terms of student retention of the concepts of the program.

  • I think there is much I can do about sexual misconduct on campus. Prior to attending the workshop, 47% of participants said that they either strongly agreed or agreed to this statement, with 8% saying they strongly agreed. After the workshop, 77% of the participants said they strongly agreed and agreed, with 25% saying they strongly agreed, according to the report.

  • Develop a plan for ways I might safely intervene as a bystander. According to the report, "Prior to attending the workshop 83% of participants said that they were very likely or likely to engage in the behavior, with 30% saying they strongly agreed. After the workshop, 93% of the participants said they were very likely or likely to engage in this behavior, with 53% saying they were very likely to engage in this behavior."

The bystander network workshop surveys for second-year students showed similar retention rates as the SARV workshops between the pre- and post-workshop surveys. 

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