Friday, January 21, 2022

MSU launches effort to support survivors

January 6, 2022
<p>Teal flags signed in support of sexual assault victims photographed on April 3, 2019. The flags were signed by at least 4,000 MSU students with words of support for survivors of sexual assault.</p>

Teal flags signed in support of sexual assault victims photographed on April 3, 2019. The flags were signed by at least 4,000 MSU students with words of support for survivors of sexual assault.

Photo by Mila Murray | The State News

President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. announced a “Support More” initiative with four efforts to support survivors of sexual assault in an email on Jan. 6.

The initiative is part of furthering the university's strategic plan, passed by the Board of Trustees in September, a plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion passed in December of 2019 and a five-year RVSM plan.

The efforts include a website as a hub of information related to this plan. The website links resources for survivor support and explains how to report incidents of relationship violence and sexual misconduct.

“During my initial meetings with survivors, they said they wished more people at MSU knew what to say and what to do in these conversations,” Stanley said in the email. “In fact, research has found that teaching people how to provide helpful, supportive reactions to disclosures helps alleviate victims’ distress and promotes healing.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services gave MSU a $475,000 grant to help fund and execute the plan.

University spokesperson Emily Guerrant said the initiative is an important step in accountability. She hopes these efforts help educate everyone in the MSU community to maximize the impact of support.

“When you think about what we as an institution have been through throughout the Nassar crisis and what you have happening in society with the Me Too movement and just more spotlights being shown on assault and harassment, it's really important that any one person knows how to respond in those situations,” Guerrant said.

Stanley also linked a YouTube folder of videos with support, detailing on-campus resources like the Center for Survivors and the Sexual Assault Healthcare Program. He also mentioned posters and brochures with guidance for faculty, staff and students are included in the initiative.

“The university put a lot of training into mandatory reporting,” Guerrant said. "This is kind of the next evolution of that. How do I respond? How do I support (survivors)? How do I make sure that they're getting the support that they need? So I'm really proud of this effort.”

Guerrant said these efforts are ongoing.

“There is still more work to be done,” Stanley said in the email. “The Support More initiative will go a long way in fostering a safe university environment so every member of the campus community can be successful. Our resolve to make a difference and the strength of our community will carry us even further.”

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