NewsLocal News


Visit from #MeToo founder sparks discussion about sexual assault at FAMU

Posted at 5:42 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 08:43:06-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — There are questions about a controversial visit to Florida A&M University by the founder of the #MeToo movement.

The event last Friday sparked discussion on campus and off about whether FAMU is doing enough to prevent sexual assault and harassment and provide support for students.

Sexual harassment and sexual violence, in some form or another, are an unfortunate reality on most college campuses and it's no different at FAMU, so it is a concern for both students and faculty.

If FAMU students are the victims of sexual assault, harassment, or violence, university officials say help and support are here.

"Students can count on being able to go to the counseling center, being able to go to student health services, going to our Title IV investigator so those complaints can be investigated and going to law enforcement," said Dr. Yolanda Bogan, Program Director for Center for Interpersonal Violence at FAMU.

But some students say there is a fear of going for help because the victims feel blamed for the assaults.

"I feel like that it's a big part of supporting the student who was assaulted instead of blaming them, you have to put accountability on the person that did it to them," said FAMU student Cikayah.

In 2015, FAMU was awarded a $300,000 federal grant from the Office of Violence Against Women. That grant allowed the university to strengthen services that were already in place and provide additional training to students, law enforcement, and judicial board members.

Dr. Bogan says because of the training, students coming forward with complaints of sexual assault and harassment have gone up in the past three years.

"This was something we anticipated and something we are pleased about," said Dr. Bogan. "We expect that it's not the rates that have gone up but the reporting that has gone up."

She says getting the information out to the students is key.

"Within our student organizations, the initiatives they put in place to accommodate the students is very well put together and if the administration isn't doing what they should, the students look out for each other," said FAMU student Myle. "I think that's what matters too."

The entire community is invited to an upcoming event at FAMU called Tuscany in Tallahassee on May 10 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 pm.

It is a fundraiser for the Refuge House which has a long-standing partnership with the university.