MCASA on Campus
By: Courtney Brooks, Program Supervisor
The past few years have shown a national increase in interest and response toward sexual violence on college campuses. The 2014 White House Council on Women and Girls revealed that 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted while in college, and further research indicates that a campus with 10,000 women could experience 350 sexual assaults during an academic year, with assault rates spiking the first six-weeks of the semester leaving first year, female students at the highest risk for this crime.
MCASA has always prioritized the issue of sexual violence on campus. In a recent interview on campus violence, Executive Director Lisae Jordan stated: “The key to ending sexual violence is dealing with things like consent and culture.” MCASA has worked closely with campuses across the state to help develop a better campus-coordinated and peer-based response to sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking in partnership with community resources, including addressing the victimization of women from culturally diverse or disabled populations.
By understanding that each campus needs training and technical assistance crafted to best fit with the philosophy, environment, and unique staff roles, MCASA has worked closely with campus staff to craft a campus-coordinated response to violence. MCASA has been invited to St. John’s College, Goucher College, and the University of Maryland to provide training to staff, including campus conduct hearing boards and investigators, to promote a collaborative and coordinated response for prevention and intervention. MCASA is also part of the University of Maryland Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Team, which meets regularly to discuss education, prevention, and intervention strategies.
Peer-based responses on campus are one of the key strategies to shift the culture toward collective accountability for safety. To help campuses reach student leaders, MCASA has provided training to Resident Assistants (RAs), who are student para-professional staff that live in the residence halls and help sustain their campuses values of safety, respect, and shared accountability. MCASA has provided RA training to St. John’s College, St. Mary’s as well as training to Greek and student organizations at the University of Maryland. During April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, MCASA travelled to Salisbury University and University of Maryland to attend Take Back the Night rallies and marches. In addition to training, MCASA has provided campuses with access to English and Spanish versions of “The Power of One” bystander intervention campaign, developed in 2012, which brings the Green Dot concepts of “Direct, Distract, Delegate” for prevention. This summer, MCASA is preparing for more student leadership training to help launch the Fall semester at campuses across Maryland.
In addition to providing technical assistance to campuses, MCASA continues to include information and updates on campus violence through e-lerts, announcements, and social media, so all of our members are updated with the latest news on the issue of campus sexual violence. This past June, during MCASA’s Comprehensive Advocate Training, Barbara Stob from Goucher College trained the 48 attendees on violence on campus and the White House Task Force. MCASA staff remains attentive toward the Office of Violence Against Women’s webinars, which address issues faced by campus Law Enforcement, Judicial Boards, Title IX Coordinators, as well as student survivors.
MCASA also established the College Consortium
, which is a network of college staff and other professionals that work to collectively prevent violence and respond to the needs of survivors on Maryland campuses. The goals of the College Consortium include: developing a better campus-coordinated response to sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking in partnership with community and campus resources
, working to guarantee a competent response to victims, using peer and cultural influence to engage all community members as proactive bystanders, educating and sharing strategies, as well as sharing resources that will lead to the prevention of sexual violence on campuses.
MCASA looks forward to continuing to support campuses as they take crucial steps to eradicate interpersonal violence on their campuses and empower students to move toward a campus climate of personal and collective responsibility for each other’s safety.
 White House Council on Women and Girls, 2014; Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000; Lisak and Miller, 2002
 Greenberg, Molly. "Maryland Believes It Can Stop Rape by Banning Jungle Juice." In the Capital
, July 8, 2014. http://inthecapital.streetwise.co/2014/07/08/maryland-bans-jungle-juice-to-stop-rape-on-campus/