Michigan first lady to host summit on campus sexual assault
Michigan first lady Sue Snyder will host a summit next month aimed at preventing campus sexual assaults.
The daylong “Inform. Empower. Prevent. Let’s End Campus Sexual Assault Summit” will be June 8 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. The event is meant to spread awareness about the issue and promote safety on campus.
“Sexual assault has been a sensitive topic gaining national attention and I believe Michigan can and should be a leader in addressing this critical issue,” Snyder said in a statement. “As a mom whose youngest daughter will soon be a college sophomore, this issue has taken on a personal meaning. As first lady, it’s an honor to use my voice in an effort to make our students’ home away from home —our college campuses — safer.”
The summit will be co-hosted by state Sens. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, and Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, and state Reps. Laura Cox, R-Livonia, and Marilyn Lane, D-Fraser. Also participating will be college and university representatives, law enforcement officials and students.
The summit keynote address will be given by attorneys Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez of Pepper Hamilton LLP, a Southfield-based law firm. Both attorneys have experience investigating and responding to sexual assault, intimate partner violence and child abuse. They also help colleges, universities and K-12 schools develop policies for dealing with sexual assault, domestic violence and related issues.
During the summit, experts will discuss various aspects of campus sexual assault:
•Emma Hanrahan and Lauren Debski, sexual assault survivors working with the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, will share the struggles they faced following their assaults.
•Rebecca Campbell, a Michigan State University psychology professor, will discuss the neurobiological effects victims experience when seeking help.
•Casey Corcoran, program director at Futures Without Violence, will host a main session examining best practices for responding to sexual violence on campus.
•Antonia Abbey, a Wayne State University psychology professor will discuss research on the role of alcohol in college sexual assaults.
The four summit co-chairs — Schuitmaker, Warren, Cox and Lane — will join Debi Cain, director of the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board, for a Q&A session to discuss the state’s role in preventing assault.
Based on available space, summit attendance is limited to campus representatives and issue experts. A livestream will be offered.
More details, speakers and a full agenda can be found at www.endcampussexualassault.com.
Universities have been tightening policies on sexual misconduct in the wake of federal investigations of dozens of schools, including Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, for their handling of assault complaints.
Last month, MSU announced it was establishing a new office to handle all complaints involving discrimination, including sexual assault allegations and relationship violence.
Earlier this year, UM President Mark Schlissel said the school would survey 3,000 students to assess the campus climate, one of the suggestions made by a White House task force.