UND Law Students Host Panel on Sexual Assault

Where do you start if you or someone else is a victim of sexual harassment?

UND Law students hosted a panel to make sure people know what to do if it happens on campus.

The panel included both law enforcement and advocacy groups answering questions about sexual assault.

“I thought it was really important that all different types of organizations came together from the women’s group to the police, to a prosecutor to hear all the different perspectives on sexual assault on campus and what we can do to prevent it in the future,” said UND Law student Lauren Milne.

Panelists say even if the victim doesn’t want to come forward, a third party reporting the incident can help if the perpetrator strikes again in the future.

The Title IX Coordinator emphasizes that it’s important to support the victim when and if they’re ready to come forward.

If you feel uneasy about something, your first step can be to call UND’s office of student’s rights and responsibilities.

“I think for a lot of students, recognizing when it happens to them, is a really difficult thing,” said UND’s Title IX Coordinator Donna Smith.

That’s where safe spaces can help, such as counseling centers and support groups.

The law student that organized the event says if you have something to say you should add to the conversation.

“University of North Dakota is very well versed in Facebook and all of that stuff so if you have a opinion express it,” said Patricia Castro, who is Co-Founder of the Multicultural Law Student Association. “I think Lt. Rasmuson was very on point when he stated if you if you see something, say something.”

Panelists say that more often than not, sexual assault incidents that happen on campuses involve drugs or alcohol and that may lead to not reporting it.

“It may be fear that they were underage and they were drinking,” said Smith. “They were at a party and they don’t want to get in trouble for that but it could be a number of things.”

UND Police say their first priority is the victim’s well being before concerns over underage drinking.

The panel discussion lasted an hour but the conversation isn’t over.

“It would be nice to know more statistics about it on UND campus and what people can do to prevent it and help survivors,” said Milne.

You can report incidents anonymously on the UND  Title IX and university police websites.

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