UVA Town Hall Focuses on Sexual Assault Survivor Support

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UVA town hall meeting on sexual assault survivor support UVA town hall meeting on sexual assault survivor support

The University of Virginia is hosting three town hall meetings as part of a push to improve safety at the university with a focus on sexual assaults. Faculty, staff, and students at the University of Virginia are working on ways to improve the school's response to sexual assaults.

The three town halls focus on different aspects of sexual assault: prevention efforts, survivor support, and changing the culture at UVA. The groups are meeting in response to a now-discredited Rolling Stone magazine article describing an alleged rape at a UVA fraternity.

Tuesday morning the second town hall meeting was held at Garrett Hall from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with a focus on survivor support. The discussion was designed to get the UVA community's input on how the university should support those who have been sexually assaulted and handle those assaults.

Students and staff talked about different university practices and how to make those policies better. One of the problems they're trying to solve is how to make survivors of sexual assault feel more comfortable reporting the crimes.

“Are there ways that can provide more sort of autonomy and confidentially for students but nonetheless might be able to increase the ability to report in ways that protect the university community from serial offenders?” said Frank Dukes, the chair of the response group.

The first town hall meeting was held Monday March 2. The work session focused on prevention efforts - bystander training, peer-education, and physical safety – as well as adding camera systems and security officers. Read more about Monday's town hall here.

The final town hall will be held Wednesday March 4. They'll be talking about changing the university's culture and social norms to make it a safer place. The meeting will be held from Noon to 2:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

The town hall groups will present their ideas to UVA President Teresa Sullivan's Ad Hoc Group on University Climate and Culture in late April. The president's group will then consider how to move forward and make some of those recommendations a reality.

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