From Carnegie Mellon University Athletics
On Monday, September 5 the Carnegie Mellon University Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation hosted a Sexual Assault and Dating Violence Prevention Workshop with more than 450 student-athletes participating in the four-hour workshop.
The workshop is spearheaded by The Plaidvocates, a peer-to-peer health and wellness advocacy program for student-athletes that supports the well-being of CMU’s varsity athletics community. This is the second year the department has held a workshop on the topic of sexual assault and dating violence prevention.
“We hosted a similar program last year, however, this was the first year that this workshop was mandatory for all student-athletes, and I think it was greatly beneficial,” said junior Plaidvocate Alyssa Brandt. “Part of the battle to stop sexual assault and dating violence is knowing exactly what each is and being able to recognize it when it is happening to you or someone you know. With all the athletes going through this workshop, I believe that we were able to better educate them to help prevent these actions from occurring.”
The first topic of discussion was bystander intervention. Senior football player Jonathan Dyer and athletic trainer Rosie Cheng attended a conference presented by Step UP! in May. The pair brought their knowledge back to Carnegie Mellon to tell the student-athletes about different styles and techniques to move from a passive bystander to an active bystander.
“The addition of bystander intervention this year was very impactful because learning how to be an active bystander allows us to intervene in dating violence situations as well as other problematic situations that we may encounter in life,” said junior women’s tennis athlete Cori Sidell. “This enables us to be responsible members of the CMU community and continue to build an open and safe environment for all students.”
The Plaidvocates prepared a presentation on consent, one they shared with the student-athletes in the winter. Dyer and fellow football player and Plaidvocate Aaryn Watson discussed the definition of consent, what consent is and what consent isn’t (different ways people say or express no) and CMU’s definition of consent. Following the presentation, each table had an opportunity to talk about the focus of the topic individually.
Another part of the workshop included One Love Escalation. One Love's mission is to educate, empower, and activate young people in a movement for change. The Escalation Workshop educates young people using a film, empowers them with the discussion, and activates them via Team One Love. The workshop starts with a 40-minute film that depicts a college relationship of a male and female which starts off quickly and ends tragically. After the film, there were 35 student-athlete facilitators and five staff facilitators helping to drive the conversation and discussion of dating violence which lasted about 40 minutes.
“This workshop was particularly important because sexual assault and dating violence is a specifically tough topic to talk about and the fact that we were able to get all the student-athletes together to talk about this subject was tremendous,” added Sidell.
At the conclusion of the event, Kim Kelly, a Deputy Title IX Coordinator and the Director of the Office of Community Standards and Integrity Lucas Christian explained what resources are available on campus, the process of reporting, and the disciplinary actions the University can take in the event of a sexual assault.