Mentors Against Violence host forum

Sophomores Whitney Coombs, Victoria Maceira and Alex Cook listen to Leah Prescott (second from right) during the MAV forum at KDE on Wednesday. The forum dealt with recent incidents of sexual assault on campus.

In response to the recent incidents of sexual violence that occurred both at the College and in Hanover, Dartmouth’s Mentors Against Violence led a round-table discussion on the issues of community safety and awareness on Wednesday evening.

The event was held at Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority, one of the sponsors of the event. It was attended by a number of students and administrators, including Acting Dean of the College Dan Nelson ’76 and College Proctor and Director of Safety and Security Harry Kinne.

“We wanted to have this forum because we wanted to linger at this moment and think about what has happened on our campus,” Stephen Spiess MALS ’07, a member of MAV’s steering committee, said. “We want to not only react, but think about how we can act and turn something terrible that happened on our campus into something positive.”

The discussion comes in the aftermath of two reports — one of sexual assault and the other of lewdness and indecent exposure — that were reported to the Hanover Police earlier this month.

The first incident, which occurred on the evening of July 4, involved a 16-year old female participant of the Junior Debate Workshop at Dartmouth, who was assaulted by a college-aged male on the Green. She was groped beneath her shirt before she screamed and fled the scene.

The following evening, a female Dartmouth student reported that she was being followed by a man in a vehicle who appeared to be masturbating. According to the Hanover Police, the events appear to be unrelated

Wednesday’s discussion focused on ways in which the College community can enhance campus safety, as well as ideas about how to raise awareness of sexual assault and violence among the student body.

“Events like [the events of July 4 and 5] catalyze us coming together to come up with ways to raise campus safety that would appeal to students,” Kinne said. “We have to be very transparent about what is happening around campus because it is important to know and understand our surrounding; as idyllic as Hanover can be, the problems that happen everywhere else can and do happen here.”

Specifically, the group discussed the feasibility and appeal of implementing a safety escort service run by students in partnership with Safety and Security.

In addition, students and Safety and Security officers spoke of the need to start programs that would familiarize students with Safety and Security and raise awareness about sexual assault during freshman orientation, and again during sophomore summer.

“Dartmouth has something unique in its sophomore summer and the College might want to think about using sophomore summer as another moment where we can continue the conversation about safety and sexual violence,” Speiss said.

The forum also talked about the importance of continuing education about sexual violence, specifically among males on campus. Nelson spoke of the College’s continued efforts to engage the student body in discussions about perceptions of masculinity at Dartmouth.

“Some of the male leadership on campus has gotten more involved and one of the things we are really serious about doing is making it someone’s job at Dartmouth to help students to understand notions of masculinity,” Nelson said. “We are going to re-implement the Men’s Discussion Group, which is a group of students, faculty and staff who want to talk about those issues.”

Also present at the discussion were Mark Reed, director of counseling and health Services at Dick’s House, Sexual Abuse Awareness Coordinator Leah Prescott and Rebel Roberts and Keiselim Montas, both of Safety and Security. The event was co-sponsored by Student Assembly.

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