LETTER: ASMSU urges legislators to invest in police funding for sexual assault investigations
To the Michigan State Legislature,
The Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) serves as the representative body for the 37,988 undergraduate students who attend our university. As we’ve seen divestment in higher education, across the board, it is vitally important to remember what it means to be a part of the higher education system. Governor Snyder has focused his recent budget proposal on the vitality of reinvestment in education and we believe these issues to be of the highest importance.
Sexual assault has dominated the national discourse surrounding our higher education institutions and their ability to provide an environment conducive to academic success. Over the past decade, we’ve seen how universities across the country have attempted to address the growing problems propagated by these heinous crimes.
The University of Michigan and Michigan State University were targeted by the White House’s report on campus sexual assault. Just at Michigan State, in the past year, 9,866 students reported sexual assault or relationship violence.
We, as a state, must recognize the challenges our universities are facing in addressing sexual assault. The Governor, in his FY 2015-16 budget proposal, did a great service to students across the state, by allocating $500,000 in State Police resources to partner with campuses on ending sexual assault.
This is a crucial first step in engaging all of our resources to address these concerns. By making an effort to improve the climate surrounding campus sexual assault, the police will have better abilities in understanding best practice and protocol.
Sexual assault, in any capacity, is a challenging problem to address, given the jurisdictional questions surrounding events off of campus. These funds would allow State Police forces to mediate cases more effectively and efficiently. Without greater resources, we will not be able to support our peers and effectively pursue justice for the victims of these horrendous crimes.
On behalf of ASMSU and our constituents we would implore any legislator voting on the State Police budget to vote against any proposal that makes the egregious error of removing funding from a partnership that would work towards substantive results in this burgeoning area of social and political discussion. We urge you to support a budget that includes this appropriation.
Bryn Williams is the ASMSU Vice President of Governmental Affairs. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.