By Daniel Bendtsen
Via Wyoming News Exchange
LARAMIE – The University of Wyoming is planning to create four new jobs as part of its No More Campaign, which aims to provide more resources to prevent and respond to sexual assault on campus.
The positions won’t be filled until the Board of Trustees signs off on the budget for the 2020 fiscal year, but President Laurie Nichols and Vice President for Student Affairs Sean Blackburn have already found money for the jobs through internal re-allocation of funding – not through an overall budget increase approved by the trustees.
“I just think it’s critically important that any university, and certainly the University of Wyoming, be very attentive to what we’re doing around sexual assault and overall campus safety,” Nichols told the trustees’ budget committee Monday. “We are addressing sexual assault in a much more comprehensive, and actually aggressive, manner.”
The funding system means the trustees will only need to sign off on the positions once UW makes its hires.
Nichols has re-allocated $75,000 for a student-athlete well-being coordinator, $30,000 for a psychology graduate assistant for trauma and sexual assault prevention laboratory, and $68,634 for a diversity specialist and investigator in the Equal Opportunity Report and Response office.
Nichols said the student senate, ASUW, also plans to request a sexual assault prevention educator for the 2021 budget.
Athletic Director Tom Burman said the student-athlete well-being coordinator position evolved from discussions conducted in the fall with female student-athletes.
“What we learned from that is that sexual assault is prevalent on this campus at a rate that would probably shock all of us,” Burman told the trustees’ budget committee on Tuesday. “This is a position that we wanted to have for a long time.”
Burman said the well-being coordinator will be based in the High Altitude Performance Center. The new employee will travel with teams and attend practices to establish a rapport with student-athletes “so that when a student has an incident or knows of an incident, they’re going to be more comfortable going to talk to this person,” Burman said.
The position is needed because female student-athletes typically “aren’t as comfortable to go across campus to get the support they need,” Burman said.
“It’s going to provide a service, primarily to young women, that we haven’t been able to provide,” Burman said. “This person is going to be very busy, unfortunately.”
Nichols said the EEOR investigator is needed “so we can handle investigations in a more timely manner.”
Blackburn re-allocated funding within the Division of Student Affairs to pay $75,000 for a sexual assault mental health counselor and trauma specialist.
As part of the No More Campaign, the Division of Student Affairs is also planning a $30,000 allocation to establish the Green Dot Sexual Assault Violence Prevention Program.
The Green Dot program was one that was recommended by a June report created by UW’s sexual assault experts.
A 2016 analysis of sexual assault prevention by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found implementation of Green Dot led to “an 11 percent lower rate of sexual harassment and stalking victimization and a 19 percent lower rate of sexual harassment and stalking perpetration when compared to two non-intervention campuses.”
“Another evaluation found that Green Dot substantially decreased (sexual violence), including sexual harassment, dating violence, and stalking in high schools, including a decrease in (sexual violence) perpetration,” the CDC report says. “Evaluations of Bringing in the Bystander show increases in self-efficacy and intentions to engage in bystanding among college students and bystander behaviors that involve helping friends.”