UW System joins colleges around the country in combating sexual harassment

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All thirteen colleges within the UW system have joined an initiative that allows them to compare and share data about campus sexual harassment and assault with other universities around the country.

It’s called the Action Collaborative On Preventing Sexual Harassment In Higher Education. 

“It opens the doors for doing more research, and diving deeper into the problems, and looking for what are the strategies that work well on other places, and then how do we adapt those to our campus,” Mark Olkowski, UW-Green Bay’s Associate Dean of Students, explained. 

The UW system has been proactive in combating sexual assault and harassment for years.

The president of the UW system created a task force back in 2014 to look into how its campuses are handling sexual harassment and assault. 

“If we compare our statistics to other UW’s, we find that we’re actually higher,” Olkowski said. “We look at that as a good sign that students have become aware and they know how to report and they’re coming forward and getting the assistance they need.”

At UW-Green Bay, students take required online courses to learn about sexual assault, harassment, and dating violence. 

“We’ve tried to create a culture where students, a) know what it is, b) that they can report it, and that we follow through,” Olkowski explained. “And so we’ve seen kind of, if you build it, they will come. And so we’ve been getting more and more reports, which is why we’ve been trying to expand the number of resources we have to support those students.” 

It’s not just administrators taking action.

A student at UW-Green Bay has made it her mission to help students who are victims of such crimes on campus or study abroad navigate the reporting and legal process.

She transferred to UW-Green Bay after she said her case was mishandled at her first college. 

“Well my freshman year I was actually sexually assaulted…and my case there was very mishandled, so it’s been my goal to help other students not go through that,” Jordyn Guarantee, a junior at UWGB, said. 

A grant also allowed UWGB to create a part-time sexual assault prevention coordinator. 

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