LAWRENCE — The Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center (SAPEC) at the University of Kansas is celebrating its first anniversary with an event this week to mark the successes of its first full year of operation.
The center has also published its first annual report, available on the center’s website. It details how hundreds of live and online training events reached thousands of students, faculty and staff at the university.
The center’s anniversary celebration is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, at Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union. The event is open to the community and will feature remarks from Tammara Durham, vice provost for student affairs.
While the yearly numbers help to illustrate the center’s reach, they alone don’t tell the whole story, said Jen Brockman, SAPEC director. “As we continue to pursue our desire to position KU as a leader in how universities address this national problem, we are working each day to refine and coordinate KU’s efforts in sexual assault prevention and awareness.
“None of this was done alone. If we had tried to do this by ourselves, we would not have accomplished half of what we did,” Brockman said.
For its efforts in its first year, SAPEC received a Best Practice in Prevention Award from NASPA for its programming and prevention efforts. NASPA is a national association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession.
The center began in early 2016 as 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. As part of its efforts to address sexual assault, KU has also signed memorandums of agreement with the Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center of Lawrence and with the city of Lawrence to refine and strengthen how university and city law enforcement work together to address incidents of sexual assault and sexual violence.
SAPEC reached its full staffing level about six months ago. Brockman is joined by two full-time prevention educators, a student worker and several peer educators who volunteer for the center.
The peer educators allow the center to use a “peer plus pro” model, where a student can join with a professional to present to other students.
The center introduced a new online training for students that was adaptable based on factors like the age of a student, whether the student was a graduate student and more. The training also introduced concepts like intimate partner violence that were not covered in previous trainings. More than 19,200 students (or 78 percent) of undergraduate and graduate students completed the online training.
“Different students will have different needs. For a 40-year-old undergraduate student, talking about party culture may not be as applicable, so our online trainings are tailored to be reflective of the student populations we are working with,” Brockman said.
Also, the center offered specific in-person trainings on topics like how bystanders can intervene and prevent sexual assault from occurring. More than 1,300 undergraduate students from greek life, Student Senate, KU Housing and other groups took the training.
The center has also conducted specific training for Kansas Athletics Inc., training 490 student-athletes in sexual assault awareness and policy, and training 120 coaches and staff members on three different response and awareness topics.