As students’ e-mails are flooded with crime alerts as of late, incidents of sexual assault have dominated the subject lines. Many students, especially those new to campus, are feeling unsettled by the three incidents of alleged sexual assault that have happened in the last 10 days. In light of the incidents, the University should take time to re-educate students on its policies on sexual assault, its definition of sexual assault and ramifications on committing such an offense.

Over Labor Day weekend, three incidents of sexual assault were conveyed to DPS. The police reports describe Asian males with the same approximate height. On Friday, another incident of suspicious touching was reported, and the description of the individual resembles that of the previous incidents.

Sexual assault prevention education must be made a priority on campus. While SAPAC runs workshops for incoming freshmen each year, there should be follow-up sessions for upperclassmen that reiterate this information. The definitions of sexual assault need to be clear, so students can correctly identify incidents of sexual assault.

At the University of Montana, every student is required to watch a video about sexual assault definitions and consequences. Students are subsequently required to earn a perfect score on an accompanying test. The University of Michigan should explore options like these to ensure the serious prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses isn’t passed over.

Students also need to take advantage of the variety of safety measures provided by the University. There are many resources offered to help protect student safety as well as assist survivors. Safewalk and Ride Home are options that help students get home safely at night. There are also Blue Light systems across campus, through which students immediately connect to authorities in cases of danger.

Finally, the University’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution offers a service to report sexual assault to the University without having to speak to the police about the incident. If a person is found responsible for committing sexual assault, the University will enforce sanctions and consequences that it believes are appropriate for the situation. All students should be aware that a multitude of resources are available to them.

According to SAPAC, sexual assault is “any form of unwanted sexual contact obtained without consent and/or obtained through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion.” There is still confusion among students as to what exactly sexual assault is, especially following the recent crime alert description of “suspicious touching.” SAPAC’s definition is comprehensive, but it needs to widely distributed so students and the Ann Arbor community are aware of what exactly constitutes sexual assault. Students should be clearly reminded on a regular basis that sexual assault is not tolerated at this University.

Sexual assault is a serious matter that can’t be taken lightly. The University community should act to re-affirm this stance and ensure student safety on campus.

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