MSU President's column for Traill County Tribune

October 5, 2013

Mayville State programming providing education and awareness of violence issues


Yes, U Can is a project initiated by a task force of faculty, staff, and students, and established to promote respect, education, and awareness of sexual and domestic abuse. The group fosters a well-rounded environment at Mayville State University. Yes, U Can takes a serious approach to the role of leadership in setting a collaborative environment that endorses self-respect, self-worth, and the knowledge of consequences with actions and behaviors. The group is sponsoring several activities and events during the 2013-2014 academic year, with the goal of providing Mayville State students with resources they should make use of in their decision-making processes.

“The Hook-Up,” a program that deals with sexual assault awareness among college audiences, was held at Mayville State in September. The program differs from traditional sexual assault prevention programs in that it incorporates improvisation, humor, education, and audience interaction to provide a provocative look at dating sex and the core issue of consent. This program was a follow-up to “Sex Signals,” a program presented at Mayville State last winter.

Mayville State will sponsor “The Clothesline Project” on campus October 7-9. “The Clothesline Project” will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the MSU Campus Center Luckasen Room. It is a national and statewide project that shadows the thrivers, survivors, families, loved ones, and victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

There will be 100 T-shirts on display. The shirts are of various colors, each representing a particular crime. In addition to the viewing of T-shirts, a support table, supplemental information, and a solitude table to renounce the loss from sexual assault and domestic abuse crimes will be available.

When “The Clothesline Project” was at Mayville State last year, six people made T-shirts, demonstrating first-hand that there are individuals in Traill County experiencing on-going healing because of violence toward women.

Karyn Gall Hippen will be the keynote speaker at the “Take Back the Night” activities at Mayville State Thursday, October 10. “Take Back the Night” is a national event that advocates and promotes a united front against violence against women. Through her book, “Make Me New,” Hippen uses her personal experiences to help others. Her presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, October 10, in the MSU Classroom Building Auditorium.

Following Hippen’s presentation, at 8:00 p.m., the “Take Back the Night” walk will begin outside the Classroom Building Auditorium and loop around campus. Purple and blue glow sticks symbolizing domestic violence and sexual assault will be provided.

Refreshments will be served in the Classroom Building Auditorium following the walk, and Karyn Gall Hippen will be available for questions and further discussion. Copies of her book will be available.

In November, Kay Mendick and her staff with the University of North Dakota’s Women’s Center will provide impact training with a group of women at Mayville State. This training will offer an educational and empowering defense and proactive stance toward sexual assault and domestic abuse.

Unfortunately, sexual assault and violence against women are a reality nationwide. It is our duty as an institution of higher education to help our students, as well as the community, understand the issues and learn how they can turn negative situations into positive experiences. Please feel free to join us on campus for the upcoming planned activities.