Sexual Assault Advocate to be hired this summer

Jasmine Demers, News Editor



CSUSM is set to develop and initiate a new advocacy position on campus that will meet the needs of students and survivors who have experienced any type of sexual violence.

In September of 2014, Cal State University officials announced that each of the 23 campuses within the university system will have a confidential sexual assault advocate by June of 2015.

The announcement was made after a significant amount of voiced concern by students, faculty, lawmakers and advocacy groups, who wanted to see change within the CSU system, was seen.

With the June deadline closing in and a spike in reported sexual assault reports last semester, CSUSM students have begun to demand that the University quickly hire a Sexual Assault Advocate who will work personally with survivors to support and represent them.

The new Sexual Assault Advocate will be able to guide and strengthen campus sexual assault policies as well as create an increase in awareness about these issues at CSUSM.

“Recently the Title IX Coordinators across the CSU system were given some draft guidelines for what the role of the advocate will be. We are all moving forward with the goal of having an Advocate on campus by summer,” said CSUSM’s Title IX Coordinator, Dr. Bridget Blanshan.

Blanshan emphasized the need for a sexual assault advocate who is equipped with the necessary skills to take on such a position.

“We expect to be looking for someone with an advanced degree in counseling but with a specialization in sexual assault,” said Blanshan. “We need someone that comes in with expertise as well as advocacy experience. It’s going to require a combination of education and experience.”

CSUSM student and activist, Karen GuzmXn, explained the importance of student involvement within this process as well as within the continued effort to spread awareness.

“There is a need to highlight how much student and faculty effort went into creating this position. Likewise, there needs to be significant student input in the process of creating and hiring such advocate,” said GuzmXn.

The need for a sexual assault advocate at CSUSM has been a focus point for students, faculty and campus administrators.

“We’ve learned a lot in getting everything into a place and we are at a point where we are ready for that person to come join the team, and take prevention, education as well as response to another level,” said Blanshan.

GuzmXn, as well as other student activists, encourage students to get involved and take a stand against sexual assault.

“We hope that anyone out there who is interested in mobilizing will join on-campus organizations such as Feminists Anonymous and STARS, or look into internships at the HOPE and Wellness Center.”