Campus advocates and university officials said they agreed Wednesday to explore plans for a sexual assault education pilot program, putting them a step closer toward their goal of developing a program for all incoming freshman.
The University Senate's Sexual Harassment Task Force is still weighing a proposal from this past winter to mandate sexual assault education for all incoming university students at freshman orientation. But the pilot program, which is not part of the proposed mandate, could be an important tool for developing and implementing the mandated program if the bill passes, said Ryan Heisinger, last year's Student Government Association academic affairs vice president and one of the bill's leading advocates.
"I'm very excited that the university is making steps in the right direction," he said.
Heisinger declined to offer any details about the pilot program, but said the training program was designed by former Diamondback editor in chief and online editor Lauren Redding and Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Program officials.
Along with Redding, Heisinger worked on the proposal in his role with the SGA and submitted it to university student affairs vice president Linda Clement a week ago.
Clement agreed to support the pilot program at a luncheon on Wednesday and said she would look to assemble a group of supporters and officials from the provost's office to work on the program's logistics some time after next week's graduation.
Redding said the pilot program is meant to target about 30 percent of next fall's freshman class.