The Women’s Resource Center has proposed an idea that aims to change the way UA students perceive and act on sexual assault. The workshop, called Wildcat 101, aims to bring social justice and awareness to the UA.
“There are 10 [Students Promoting Empowerment and Consent] interns that will go through peer training to be able to run the Wildcat 101 workshop,” said Nick Taras, coordinator for Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention Programming. “This is new and innovative; we hope to have the curriculum developed by April 1.”
Students Promoting Empowerment And Consent is a student–run group on campus that spreads awareness about topics such as sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. Once the SPEAC interns have passed their peer training, they will utilize the 3-hour-long workshop to spread violence-oriented awareness. Wildcat 101 will be geared toward incoming freshman and their parents during summer orientations.
Taras said that the WRC holds smaller, timed conversation sessions with students to talk about their personal experiences with sexual assault and domestic violence. However, the group aims to make Wildcat 101 an informative program for students who are scared, nervous or just want more information about the particular subject.
“[It] sounds amazing, especially during orientation. Sexual assault is downplayed and this can be informational for incoming freshman,” said Brenda Stoiber–Bouldin, a desk assistant for LGBTQ Affairs. “This can set the tone for students entering college who are afraid and nervous that it could happen to them, or [those] who just want to know how to help if they ever had a friend in a situation like that.”
Taras said the discussion will be centered around masculinity and male violence, but geared toward both men and women.
“We definitely want to draw on the expertise of others to have some cool connections up there, so I think that would be the most exciting piece,” Taras said. “You get different opinions from different vantage points and I think that makes it even more profitable for students and others.”
According to Taras, if the workshop is a success, the next step is to develop a three-credit course using the social-justice lens of gender, race and trauma. The class would be offered in both the fall and spring semesters and open to all majors.
Last Wednesday, Krista Millay, assistant dean of students and director of the WRC, attended the Associated Students of the University of Arizona’s Senate meeting to ask for help with funding for the peer educator’s paid positions in teaching the workshops. This Wednesday, Jan. 27., ASUA Senators will vote and come to a final decision on whether they will fund the program.
Dana Field, a pre-business freshman and one of the two Arizona-Sonora Residence Hall representatives to attend Residence Hall Association meetings, said that creating more educational programs on social justice in the residence halls is a frequent topic of discussion. Field added that Wildcat 101 would be a great addition to orientation since it is an important and exciting time for incoming students.
“Educating people on this topic is very important since the problems associated with it are often ignored and overlooked,” Field said. “Having a three-credit class could be a wonderful resource for anyone that wants to learn more about this topic, but I don’t think that it should ever become a mandatory class.”
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