Since the beginning of the Fall 2016 semester, two sexual assaults have been reported to ETSU Public Safety.

With the issue of sexual assault on college campuses gaining increased awareness, universities across the country, including ETSU, are making an effort to battle this problem head-on.

On Sept. 15, the ETSU Office of Professional Development will host “Escape from Rape: A Cultural Change” conference at the Millennium Center.



Kayce Matthews, a program specialist with the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, is the main instructor for the conference, but will be joined by a few other community members.

Joe Sherlin, vice president of student affairs, will speak at the conference about ETSU’s community approach to sexual assault.

Additional speakers include Erin McArdle, assistant district attorney, and Mark Sirois, chief of the Johnson City Police Department.

McArdle will discuss the impact of trauma and how to prevent sexual assault. Sirois’s talk will be on the safety of  the Johnson City community, as well as the local police’s response to sexual assault. A survivor will also share his or her story.

The conference’s main purpose is to educate the ETSU campus and Tri-Cities community on how to prevent, react and treat sexual assault, as well as how to get sexual assault victims the help they need.

The other main goal of the conference is to eliminate misconceptions about sexual assault and to foster an environment that treats survivors better.

The conference was organized by members from the ETSU Women’s Resource Center and Women’s Studies Program, as well as Student Support Services, Student Affairs and the Johnson City Family Justice Center.

Attendees may be eligible to earn credit for General Continuing Education Units, credit for Continuing Nurse Education and possibly POST continuing education for law enforcement members.

The conference begins at 8 a.m. with registration and breakfast and is expected to end by 5 p.m. Registration is $85, but a student discount rate is available for $55. The registration fee covers all of the materials needed.

Those looking for more information may call the ETSU Professional Development Office at 800-222-3878 and may register at