Summer orientation at ETSU offers an opportunity to welcome new Buccaneers onto campus as they embark on their colligate journeys.
Along with the information overload of financial aid requirements and course registration hurdles, something else was discussed at ETSU’s orientation: sexual crimes on campus.
Kate Emmerich, senior counselor in the ETSU counseling center and OASIS program coordinator, spoke at each orientation session to open the dialogue on an issue that a lot of incoming freshman and their parents may be uncomfortable discussing.
This is in light of the growing number of reported cases of sexual assaults and violence on ETSU’s campus in the past academic year.
“I am not looking for a school that has zero rapes reported,” Emmerich told orientation attendees, “because I know this is happening at every school. The fact that the crimes are reported here means that we are addressing it.”
The focus of Emmerich’s talk was “the Red Zone” – what researchers refer to as the period of time between the beginning of fall semester to Thanksgiving break for incoming freshman. This is statistically the time in which the most rapes and sexual crimes take place on college campuses.
“It is no mystery that students go a little bit crazy when they are finally on their own those first few weeks of college, readjusting from home life,” Emmerich said. “The very small percentage of people who perpetrate these crimes know this and are active during this time because they know that young students are naive. Sometimes freshman just don’t know how risky it is.”
Emmerich went on to educate new students on ETSU’s steps to increase flow-of-information regarding sexual crimes and how they are handled at the university.
She said the efforts have proven effective, considering that the rate at which sexual misconduct is reported has grown dramatically since their implementation.
These new programs include HAVEN, an online training to be taken by every incoming student; a required climate survey that will anonymously assess how students have been affected by or perpetrated sexual violence; and bystander intervention education.
Emmerich also expressed disdain towards some prominent “cultural myths” that can leave students misinformed about rape and sexual violence.
“Students need to be aware that a rape is never a victim’s fault, and that sexual crimes are often perpetrated by a friend or acquaintance,” she added.
For assistance or to report an incident, students should visit ETSU’s violence-free webpage at etsu.edu/violencefree/.