LAWRENCE —The University of Kansas has created a new office to centralize its ongoing sexual assault prevention and education efforts.
The new Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center (SAPEC) will serve as the central coordinating office for KU’s longstanding sexual assault prevention and education programming, the assessment of these efforts and the creation of future programming. The new center will start with one position — a director — and soon add two educator positions and an administrative assistant for a total of four positions. The center will report to Jane Tuttle, assistant vice provost for student affairs.
“While the university already provides strong sexual assault prevention and education programming, we recognize our programs could be improved if they were better coordinated and centralized under one roof,” Tuttle said. “The new Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center will serve as that central unit. The result will be a better, more coherent sexual assault prevention and education effort that benefits the KU community.”
The creation of the new center is a direct response to a specific recommendation of the Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual Assault, which submitted its final report to Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little in May 2015. The university has implemented or is currently implementing 22 of the 27 task force recommendations.
“We’ve said all along that we aspire to position KU as a leader in how universities address this national problem,” said Tammara Durham, vice provost for student affairs. “We are pleased that we were able to address the task’s force’s recommendation by creating this new center.”
The SAPEC director will provide coordination, assessment and education for universitywide sexual violence prevention. KU will open its search for that position within the next few days. The two educator positions will provide violence awareness and risk reduction programming related to sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and bystander intervention. The first educator position will focus on men’s issues and bystander empowerment. The second educator, who will be hired in early 2016, will focus on sexual violence and healthy relationships. SAPEC will recruit and train students to be peer educators who will enhance how the KU community learns about prevention.
In addition to creating better, more integrated programming, SAPEC will shift education and prevention responsibilities away from KU units, such as Public Safety, Student Affairs, Watkins Heath Services and the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, for those units to focus on their core functions.
“For example, while IOA has done great work in education and prevention, that office’s core mission with respect to Title IX is to conduct investigations,” Tuttle said. “By centralizing all prevention and education efforts within the new Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center, we free up IOA staff to focus on investigations.”
Today’s announcement is the second this month related to sexual assault and violence. On Oct. 6, the university announced an agreement with the Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center — formerly known as GaDuGi SafeCenter — regarding sexual assault and sexual violence. Like today’s announcement, that agreement was a direct response to a specific recommendation of the task force.