West Texas colleges and universities make changes - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

West Texas colleges and universities make changes to protect students


Local colleges and universities are responding to the new presidential memorandum dedicated to protecting students from sexual assault on campus. 

President Obama is giving a task force 90 days to work with schools across the country to create safer environments. 

Colleges and universities are required to publish crime statistics. The latest numbers are from 2012, when Texas Tech University reported 5 sexual assaults. South Plains College and Lubbock Christian University reported zero.

LCU, however, said they have had one case reported since 2012. Those new statistics will be published in October 2014.

Campus leaders said new legislation continues to address this issue, but they are already making changes of their own, including a new group at Texas Tech.

"We look at the comprehensive array of issues related to sexual assault. How can we prevent and provide education to students about sexual assault?" Amy Murphy, Dean of Students at Texas Tech, explained. 

South Plains College has also created a task force.

"We really try to deal with violence against women," said Urisonya Flunder, Associate Dean of Students for South Plains College. 

It is a message White House officials are also trying to get across.

"Freedom from sexual assault is a basic human right. No man has a right to raise a hand against a woman for any reason, any reason other than self defense," Joe Biden said at an event on Wednesday. 

School officials said they know both men and women can be victims of sexual assault and it is important for every victim to feel safe reporting the crime.

"The biggest component is the educational component. How can we get the word that there are safe places to come forward when sexual assault has taken place?" asked Randal Dement, LCU's Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs.
"I think we will continue to watch those numbers increase. Actually, in many ways, I hope they do increase just in that I hope more students will report. I don't want more incidents to happen, but I believe they probably are occurring and I want our students to feel comfortable reporting and using the resources available," Murphy said. 

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