University of Dubuque Increases Sexual Assault Training Before White House Recommendation

By Katie Wiedemann, KCRG-TV9

DUBUQUE, Iowa — On Tuesday, the Obama Administration released new guidelines to help universities all across the nation prevent sexual assaults and support victims. Vice President Joe Biden released the findings of a White House commissioned report. The report found one in every five female students are victims of assault.

A task force is now recommending universities make some changes. Those include conducting surveys to gauge just how common assaults are on their campuses. Offer prevention programs to educate students about assault. And provide better victim support, including trained victim’s advocates.

Biden said, “These aren’t just numbers. These are friends. These are our daughters. These are our neighbors. These are our classmates.”

But these federal guidelines are not required, they are just recommendations.

Administrators at the University of Dubuque say they’re already doing some of the things the White House is recommending.

It’s that caught in between moment for Beth Scheckel. She wants her daughter to choose the right college, while she’s wistfully worried about letting go.

Scheckel said, “That was one of my first questions was, how safe is the campus? “

Administrators say the University of Dubuque is a very safe campus.

University of Dubuque, Dean of Student Life, Mick Miyamoto said, “I’ve been working in Student Affairs for 29 years and this has always been a huge priority for all of us. I’ve never met any administrators on a college campus who try to sweep it under the rug. “

Sexual assault prevention training has long been a requirement for student leaders like Larissa Shebroe.

Shebroe said, “Not only do you walk in pairs, but when you do walk, you hold your head up.”

Starting next year, that training will become mandatory for all new students. Training will require students watch a university produced video. That video will feature messages from influential male teachers and coaches on campus.

“If you look at the data, overwhelmingly the men are the perpetrators and women are the victims, so it becomes a men’s issue. We need to take a stand, “ said Miyamoto.

The University hopes the training will inspire victims to report sexual assaults.

Pro-active approaches Scheckel says helps her peace of mind.

“Letting go is always hard, “ she said.

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