By Jan Carabeo
WEST CHESTER, Pa., (CBS) — The numbers are alarming. One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college.
With those numbers in mind, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault unveiled a new star-studded campaign and website on Tuesday. The goal is to raise awareness about sexual assault at college and help schools and students locate the resources they need to better deal with the problem.
West Chester University has experienced a growing number of sexual assaults on campus recently. Four incidents were reported in April alone.
“The alerts before this were few and far between,” WCU senior Brandon Eberts said. “But now, it’s been a lot recently”
“I’ve never gotten so many in the three years I’ve been here,” WCU junior Mikaela Sutkin added.
Text and email alerts are the university’s way of communicating with students and complying with federal regulations.
“We are making sure our students are aware of all the ways they can report,” Assistant Director of Public Relations Loretta MacAlpine said. “Not only that, all the ways they can stay safe as well.”
The White House Task Force has now released two public service announcements in coordination with the 1 is 2 Many campaign specifically encouraging men to speak up if they see someone in danger of being assaulted.
The task force launched a new website as well.
NotAlone.gov is a one-stop-shop for schools and students alike, where schools can get information about their obligations, students can find enforcement data and how to file a complaint, and victims can locate the closest resources.
This task force also wants schools and universities to start voluntarily surveying students about sexual assaults starting next year. However, the task force is looking into mandating that by 2016.
WCU says that should not be a problem for the school, since it has been surveying students for years.
“There’s been a campus climate intervention team, who regularly take the pulse of the students on campus to make sure that they feel safe,” MacAlpine said.
MacAlpine goes on to say that WCU is always looking for ways to improve safety. Most recently, the university added police patrols as well as stepped up its police visibility in residence halls and academic buildings.
Some students say there is still room for improvement.
That conversation is already underway, the school says, and more campus community meeting are in the works.