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HU stands against gun violence, sexual assault

By Michael Lehman

Last October, Huntington University was ranked as the safest college campus in Indiana, and the seventh safest college campus in the United States. Thanks to recent efforts aimed to reduce the risk of gun violence and sexual assault on campus, HU continues to prioritize the safety of its students.

HU chief of police Justin Faw said the university has changed its active shooter protocol from ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) to Run, Hide, Fight. This simplified approach instructs students how to run or hide if an active shooter is on campus. It encourages them to fight back as a last resort and urges them not to call 911 if it is unsafe to do so.

“There are several presentations going on around campus at various times and locations,” Faw said in an email, “and the students will have the opportunity to attend a presentation during chapel on [Tuesday], May 8.”

HU faculty members have also recently received active shooter training.

Meanwhile, the students of the Student Government Association (SGA) have taken measures to combat a separate issue — sexual assault, which is a crime that is particularly prevalent among college campuses nationwide. In early April, the group partnered with the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN) and launched a campaign to promote Sexual Assault and Prevention Month.

“Conversation and awareness is vital to a healthy and safe community,” SGA wrote in an Instagram post. “We desire that from this campaign, students will be empowered to know that they are seen, heard, and believed if they are survivors of sexual assault. We hope this campaign challenges all individuals here [at] Huntington University to not be bystanders, but to take a stand against sexual assault.”

SGA kicked off the campaign on April 4 by hosting an event in Hiner Hall. Jessica Hatcher, resident director of Livingston and Meadows Hall, spoke about the “Times Up” and “Me Too” movements, which have redefined the treatment of women in Hollywood and in the American workplace as a whole. On April 6, SGA screened “The Hunting Ground,” which is a documentary that explores the pain and obstacles that college rape victims commonly receive. They later held a lecture entitled “Not a Bystander” on April 11.

SGA also posted fliers around campus, which informed students of statistics like this — in every 1,000 cases of sexual assault, 994 perpetrators walk free.

The fliers also encouraged any victims to call the 24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-HOPE).

“I am very encouraged by the work SGA has done in promoting sexual assault awareness,” university president Sherilyn Emberton said in an email. “I look forward to working with SGA in subsequent years to continue efforts to educate our campus.”

HU has a staunch sexual assault policy, which can be found on HU’s website. Instances of sexual harassment, gender-based violence, and stalking are strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Students can report any incident to campus police (260-359-4035), chief of police Justin Faw (260-224-1412), or any trusted adult, including professors. Victims who are too afraid to contact these individuals can even consider telling a close friend or family member.

SGA and HU’s faculty hope to make the safest university in Indiana a little safer through these preventative methods and conversations.

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