Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, August 14, 2018

SG bill to raise awareness of Student Advocacy Center services fails

A bill designed to promote resources for students involved in sexual assault cases failed to make it to the floor of the Undergraduate Senate this Sunday, due to confusion over the measure’s purpose.

The bill stalled at the Communication, Outreach, Programing, and Services committee on Sept. 24 and was originally written by Arielle Goldberg,Class of 2017 senator, and Alexis Arnell, senator for the campus at large. The goal of the bill was to publicize services available to students who have been sexually assaulted, specifically the services provided by the Student Advocacy Center.

However, the focus on SAC ultimately led to the bill’s downfall. SAC provides support for those seeking representation from trained students in the conduct violation process. The center also offers advocacy for all types of cases, not only those that include sexual assault, but does not provide emotional counseling.

“We are the public defenders of the academic system,” SAC Director Logan Billman said.

Arnell said SAC was a primary feature of the bill because not many students are aware of their resources until they face a conduct violation.

“People often read a bill, and they become so entangled in the language that they forget it’s purpose, and this is a prime example,” Arnell said. “I do want to make it clear that SAC is not the only resource available. We’re simply trying to give their services free advertisements and help the students.”

The measure was originally named “A Bill to Create an Awareness Campaign for SAC Services,”, though it also included other student services, like OASIS, Title IX coordinators and other student-led advocacy groups.

“My opposition to the bill is not what it provides, but that we don’t want it to misrepresent the information and services available,” Billman said. “We are 100 percent dedicated to working for the students in every single way we can, we just don’t want survivors coming to us expecting a type of aid that we can’t provide, such as the type of aid provided by OASIS or the Wellness Center with people that are much more experienced.”

Arnell and Goldberg said they plan on reworking the bill to clarify any miscommunication and present it again for consideration soon.

acooney@theeagleonline.com


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