New Resources Addressing Sexual Misconduct Come to Campus

Bella Biafore, Writer

An umbrella term, sexual misconduct can refer to any instance of harassment, stalking, intimate partner violence and domestic abuse. For most, this topic can be difficult to approach or address. 

Because the University of Michigan has a new sexual misconduct policy coming in January, additional resources and processes will be available for students dealing with these issues on all three campuses. 

“We [at the University of Michigan-Flint] have a sexual assault advocate that is confidential so someone can come talk to her, get all the resources to help navigate where they should go, or even help them understand what they’re experiencing,” said the Center of Gender and Sexuality (CGS) Director Heather Johnson. “I think when we say sexual violence people automatically think of the stranger in the bushes, not the whole umbrella.” 

In an effort to discreetly provide information to students about these topics, both the men’s and women’s restrooms on campus will see new versions of the Our Community Matters brochures placed inside stalls. These include emergency phone numbers, a list of warning signs of abuse as well as directions on how you can protect yourself. 

“I think the predecessor of The Women’s Educational Center worked effectively with facilities to get those placed. The emergency information hasn’t changed, neither have the warning signs, but we are in the process of re-printing,” said Johnson.    

In addition, a new website containing all the resources necessary for students to report, be educated on and cope with sexual misconduct launched on Monday, Sep. 30. UM-Flint’s homepage now sports a yellow button labeled ‘Report Sexual Misconduct’ on its upper right side, linking users to the new site. 

Also new to campus, an infographic featuring different lanes of reporting sexual misconduct, from visiting a counselor to making a report with the Department of Public Safety, is available. 

Students have the option to make an appointment with the sexual assault advocate, Sarah Devitt, either via phone or in-person. Those who do, as well as those who visit Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on campus,  should know that while the details of their report are kept confidential, select information will be used for statistical purposes.  

“The one caveat for the Center for Gender and Sexuality, if it’s an incident that happens on campus, we don’t have to report who you are but we have to report statistics and aggregate,” said Johnson. “We are required by law to report incidents that may be a danger to others but it’s not identifying information.”

If you or someone you know needs help or is looking for a safe place on campus, CGS is located on the third floor of the University Center.