UW Regents on point on several different issues

SEXUAL VIOLENCE AT OUR colleges and universities is nothing short of an epidemic.

Consider the following statistics from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, an organization funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Violence Prevention:

• One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.

• More than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on campuses do not report the assault.

• More than 60 percent of men at one university who self-reported acts qualifying as rape or attempted rape admitted to committing repeat rapes.

• In the general population, 91 percent of rape and sexual assault victims are women, and in eight out of 10 cases of rape the victim knew the person who committed the crime.

There is no argument over the increasing importance of this issue. What is debatable is what to do about it.

Among several actions taken by the UW System Board of Regents this month was the consideration of an effort to have every student and employee undergo online training on sexual violence and harassment issues.

In 2014, UW System President Ray Cross established a task force to address the topics. Recommendations from the task force, according to regent meeting files, included:

• Updating policies so they’re in compliance with federal laws.

• Web-based training. “The importance of providing comprehensive, accessible training concerning sexual violence and harassment to members of the university community cannot be overstated,” reads the report.

• Institutions should provide visible, accessible and inclusive information about resources to victims and develop memorandums of understanding with local law enforcement and other agencies to support the institution’s efforts in this area.

• Enhance prevention and educational efforts by collaborating with community agencies and other institutions (such as K-12, technical colleges and private colleges) to reduce risk and promote cultural change.

• “Implement a study that seeks to gather data and information concerning sexual violence and harassment on or near campus at least once every three years.:

Such measures will not eliminate sexual violence and harassment on UW campuses. However, recognizing the problem and allocating additional resources to its solution are steps in the right direction.

Requests to increase out-of-state and graduate tuition and implement employee raises were also approved.

Plans will raise tuition at six four-year campuses, including UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout, and all two-year schools, while system employees will get a 2 percent raise in each of the next two fiscal years.

“The schools say they need the extra tuition dollars to bring nonresident rates more in line with peer institutions and retain faculty,” reads a document filed with the regents.

We agree.

A recent National Science Foundation survey showed that UW Madison fell out of the top five nationwide in research expenditures for the first time in 44 years. Research expenditures at UW peaked in 2012 at $1.17 billion, but declined for the next three years.

Research draws federal dollars to the university and attracts top students. It also results in products and services that have significant impacts on economic development.

The survey results testify to the importance of reinvesting in our UW System. — Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Dec. 11


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