UW Launches New Sexual Assault Prevention Initiative

Feb 16, 2017

Credit University of Wyoming

On Wednesday, the University of Wyoming launched a new sexual assault prevention program.

President Laurie Nichols sent a letter out to all UW community members citing concern with the prevalence of sexual assault in higher education.

According to her research about one in five women and 6 percent of men are victims of sexual assault while in college. In response she launched a working group to pull together diverse strategies into a comprehensive response, which she said is unique.

"My experience being at other campuses you do these things a little bit more piecemeal," said Nichols. "And as we talked about really ramping up our efforts to get in front of sexual assault we decided to do an initiative or a campaign if you will."

As of now, the university has increased the resources on sexual assault available online, including a website, called Report IT, that guides you through the process for reporting misconduct, discrimination and violence. Students are also now required to complete short courses on alcohol and consent, and employees must complete one on sexual misconduct.

Nichols said she anticipates this initiative will increase the number of reports, but she cautioned not to confuse that with an increase in assaults. 

"We probably always had this many, we just had many that were going unreported. And we think we’re having some success because we are getting those to a reported stage," she said. "And that is where we want to move this, and from there we want to do a lot more education so we can bring the incidents down."