Seeking to ease a contentious transition in sexual assault
services, the Division of Student Affairs has brought in a
University-employed consultant to gather information and report to
the division on the progress of the changes.

Over the summer, the administration made changes to the
University’s sexual assault services. Under the plan,
Counseling and Psychological Services received two full-time sexual
assault counselors from the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness
Center. The move relieved SAPAC of its counseling burden, allowing
the office to focus on education and advocacy, administrators
said.

But some students and assault survivors are still wary of these
changes. By moving sexual assault counseling to CAPS, the
administration is fragmenting services to the detriment of
survivors of sexual violence, they say.

Under these conditions, Lisa Scheiman, a certified nurse for
more than a decade, midwife at University Hospital and coordinator
of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, will try to ensure that the
transition goes smoothly. For the next few months, Scheiman will
talk to staffers at SAPAC and CAPS, as well as student leaders to
assess how the transition is going between the two offices. She
will also keep working full-time for SANE — a program of
nurses providing emergency services to survivors.

“One of my purposes is to be a sounding board for people
that have continued questions about the transition and how
it’s going. And I want to provide a confidential place for
students and staff to go to discuss ways that they think the
transition might not be going well,” Scheiman said.

Scheiman will be paid a fee for her services.

She has already met with SAPAC’s advisory board and
administrators at Student Affairs.

SAPAC director Kelly Cichy said Scheiman has extensive
experience with sexual assault, both from a medical and survivor
perspective. With Scheiman’s work at SANE and the Washtenaw
County Coalition on Gender Violence and Safety, she said she knows
what survivors go through with the courts and other issues.

But LSA senior Kathryn Turnock, acknowledging that she did not
know Scheiman personally, questioned whether a University employee
could be independent. Turnock, an outspoken opponent of the changes
to SAPAC who has orchestrated protests on the matter, looks forward
to speaking with Scheiman about her concerns. “The concept of
having an outside consultant — if they truly are outside
— is a good idea,” Turnock said.

Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper said
“the transition is going smoothly and the coordination
between the two units is going well.”

But Turncock said the administration’s plans were not
always so stable. In her experience working with Student Affairs,
Turnock said she has not found the administration open to
suggestions and criticisms. It took months of protests,
demonstrations and entreaties to administration officials for
Turnock and peers to get some of their demands met, including the
24-hour Crisis-line being kept at SAPAC and not moved to an outside
provider.

“They truly are selective about the information they want
to hear,” she said. It is possible, she added, that this plan
is merely an attempt “to keep up this façade that
things are being done when they’re actually not being
done.”

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