My fellow Dukes,
I am Taylor Vollman, your Student Body President. Now, more than ever, I am reminded we are “all together one.” Dukes continually amaze me by how much support is out there when one of our own is hurting. Sarah showed great strength to report her assault. While it is horrible, it did spark a necessary conversation about sexual assault on our and all college campuses.
At the end of last semester, I along with a couple other SGA members went to the White House to hear about the recommendations from the Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. We then realized the lack of dialogue within our own organization and were working to create a platform amongst the student body to engage in conversations about our own climate and policies at JMU. This provided a catalyst to get the conversation started earlier.
As a Student Government, our goal is to advocate for and serve the student body, while working to educate all Dukes on the policies and resources in place. With a national average of 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men being sexually assaulted during their time at college, there is clearly an epidemic that needs to be addressed. Currently, we are trying to gather as much information as possible on this complex issue in order to have a holistic view of where we are and where we need to go. We plan on taking our ideas to the administration and faculty to help create any necessary changes. More importantly, we hope to have a joint effort across campus, involving faculty, administration and other organizations, to spread awareness and training to as wide an audience as possible.
We look forward to working with JMU as a student voice. This issue is not unique to our campus, but it doesn’t make it any less personal. We continually strive to serve as a resource for any student and hope to hear from you on any comments, concerns or experiences.
Student Body President
Resources on Sexual Assault: http://www.jmu.edu/healthcenter/PreventionandEducation/sexual-assault.shtml