By: Kenneth Mullinax/ASU.
The conclusion of America's National Campus Safety Month is exiting September with a message as loud as a lion's roar - violence against students will not be tolerated!
To help educate as many as possible on this topic, Alabama State University's Violence Against Wo(men)'s Program (VAWP) and Auburn University Montgomery (AUM) are participating in an event hosted by Montgomery's One Place Family Justice Center (One Place) on Sept. 30 at Noon to discuss both violence prevention and campus safety, explained Cheryl Lang, director of ASU's VAWP.
Due to COVID-19 health concerns, the event is being broadcast as a webinar, which may be viewed at One Place FJC Facebook page.
"Alabama State has long had a zero-tolerance policy on violence against its students and employees, so joining One Place in an event that helps educate students and the public on what constitutes interpersonal violence and how to best avoid and/or report it was an easy decision for us to make in partnering with One Place and AUM," Lang said.
The purpose of the event is multifaceted and includes such diverse topics as educating students on the many definitions and forms of interpersonal violence, which includes how to get help and assistance, how to avoid being a victim, information targeted at potential perpetrators to help deter their actions, and what constitutes interpersonal violence under the law; such as rape, domestic violence, stalking, date-violence and more.
"This is all very important to us at Alabama State University because our students are our number-one treasure and their safety is also of utmost concern to us," Lang stated.
She explained that statistical crime data, as reported by the FBI, tells us that students between the ages of 18 - 24 years-old fall within the highest percentile of being at greater risk of becoming a victim. The Sept. 30 event will provide tips and share what red flags to look for to best avoid these pitfalls, including when to intervene and what to do if you are ever personally put in peril.
EVENT COMBATS VIOLENCE
According to One Place's community outreach coordinator, Desiree Taylor, communication is the key to helping eradicate interpersonal violence on campus and against students.
"At One Place, we believe it is important to both inform and educate our students so they are knowledgeable about what the law says constitutes a crime, as well as how to best avoid the circumstances that may cause them to be a victim. We also want them to know what remedies are available to them if they have been victimized, and to especially understand that it was not their fault," Taylor said by phone.
ASU FUNDS ITS OWN ANTI-VIOLENCE PROGRAM
Lang said that the University's Violence Against Wo(men) Program first began as a federal grant to help stop violence against both women and men, Today, the program has become self-funded by the University, due in large part to the support of ASU President, Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr.
"President Ross just doesn't talk-the-talk, he truly walks-the-walk because he has made sure that our program is funded each year in ASU's general fund budget. He believes in student safety and invests money into our program to keep our campus and its students as safe as possible," Lang shared.
STUDENTS & EMPLOYEES MAY GET HELP 24/7
Beyond the event, the University's students and employees may speak personally and confidentially to ASU's Cheryl Lang about issues affecting them or someone they care about 24 hours a day by calling 229-6767 or communicating by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: If a person is in imminent danger, she advises that they call 911 for help or call the ASU Police Department at 229-4400.
News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.