Elon introduces new sexual assault awareness program, Haven
Sexual assault is an issue on the minds of students and faculty on college campuses across the country. President Leo Lambert addressed the issue at New Student Convocation.
“No doubt you have noticed the increased attention paid to the challenges that institutions of higher education face in responding to and preventing incidents of sexual violence,” Lambert said. “Violence against women is a deeply entrenched pattern in our culture and elon like all college communities is not immune to it.”
First year student Phyllis Luedke said the term was mentioned at just about every orientation event she attended.
Prior to arriving on campus, all incoming students had to take the new online sexual assault awareness course, Haven. It’s similar to the alcohol education course Elon students have been taking for years.
Assistant Vice President for Student Life Dean Jana Lynn Patterson and her staff chose the program from about eight they were looking at.
“Sexual violence, domestic violence, stalking, and bystander intervention; Haven covers everything,” Patterson said.
Patterson said Haven offers more resources to students on top of what they learn during orientation events.
“We wanted a program that we would be able to demonstrate that people were there and that they took it and that it offered another layer of learning,” Patterson said.
Patterson also said that education of the issue across multiple platforms will be beneficial to students.
New Elon parents and students seem to appreciate the added education. Steve Young’s son is a first year at Elon this year. He thinks universities in the past have ignored the issue to some extent.
“I think everyone should be aware, it’s obviously a problem that’s been swept under the rug a little bit,” Young said. “So i think bringing awareness is great.”
It took Luedke about an hour and a half to complete Haven but she thinks the time was worth it.
“I think the comfort, the security that i got from it was well worth the hour and a half or 2 hours that I sat down and put into it,” Luedke said.
For the first few weeks of the school year, Dean Patterson said her staff was focused on making sure the incoming students took the course. She added that they will make the program available to any student who wants to take it. By doing so, Patterson hopes to achieve one of her bigger goals.
“[My goal is for the university to] Come together as a community and really begin to have these discussions so that we are not perpetrating a rape culture or sexual assault culture,” Patterson said.
It’s all part of the steps Elon is taking to try and stop sexual assault.
“Despite the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses, we refuse to believe that as a community we are powerless to stop it,” Lambert said.