President Obama establishes new initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses
By Rachel Peoples—
President Obama recently announced a new task force and initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses, according to a White House memorandum. Tarleton’s new interim police chief says, however, there are steps students can take fight combat assault while the task force works.
“I don’t think that’s new,” interim police chief Alvin Allcon said, referring to Obama’s initiative. “I think it’s important that this generation is taking a stand that something needs to change in our country. I think we’ve got a long way to go still.”
There are lots of things students can do to protect themselves, Allcon said, such as locking doors and not being out alone after hours. “Also, check up on each other,” he added. “Even if you don’t know the person and you think something’s wrong, check on them.”
Allcon also encourages students not to ignore instincts if something seems wrong. “Follow your first instinct,” he said. “If you see something that’s off kilter, call us; let us check it out. We’d really rather check it out and it not be a big deal than for it be something we could have prevented.”
Obama’s initiative, found here, is called the Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and will be co-chaired by the Office of the Vice President and the White House Council on Women and Girls. The president’s memorandum begins by saying “The prevalence of rape and sexual assault at our Nation’s institutions of higher education is both deeply troubling and a call to action.”
The initiative cites the problems many higher education institutions have concerning how to deal with sexual assault, such as reporting the offense, making students aware of on-campus resources to prevent an assault, and providing victims with the support they need. The Task Force will focus on researching these issues as well as “help institutions meet their obligations under Federal law.”
Allcon was named interim police chief after former chief Justin Williams resigned to take a job elsewhere. The university is currently searching for a new chief to fill the position.