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Ending the epidemic Part III: Colleges seek to create respectful environment

A recent survey suggests that nearly half of college students have experienced abusive behaviors in a relationship. Local colleges have numerous programs in place to help in those situations.

A recent survey suggests that nearly half of college students have experienced abusive behaviors in a relationship. Local colleges have numerous programs in place to help in those situations.

— In terms of preventative education, Le Moyne has implemented a number of different initiatives.

“For freshmen coming in and non-residential commuters, they’re required to attend two sessions during the first weeks,” Kearney said. “The first is focused on binge drinking, alcohol and drug abuse, and we include within that how it leads to unfortunate situations with dating and relationships and sexual assault. It’s not just the physical problems with the drinking — it can lead to serious problems in your relationships. We weave that into the message.

“The other part is a program with sexual assault prevention and social media — stalking, texting, Facebook and sexual violence,” Kearney said. “We want students to understand healthy ways to use those tools instead of using them to harass others. Those are the big programs in the beginning.”

Beyond the new-student orientations, Kearney said there are regular reminders to students that maintaining healthy relationships is a priority at Le Moyne.

“We also do Healthy Mondays,” she said. “In the cafeteria for lunch every Monday, we have educational things, including literature from Vera House. We participate in their White Ribbon campaign. We try to promote healthy relationships.”

In addition to those programs, Kearney said Le Moyne is looking to add more initiatives in the near future.

“We’re starting to introduce some programs in bystander intervention, training our [residential] life staff to promote that within floors and communities on campus,” she said. “Next semester, we have a lot of new initiatives coming out. One is ‘if you see something, say something,’ dealing with dating violence as well as civility and respect. If you see someone mistreating someone, bullying someone, disrespecting someone, you should speak up. We’ll have a big week-long series of events starting Feb. 14 focused on bullying, civility and respect, with various national speakers and programming to build communication around these values.”

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