White House awareness tour kicks off at NCCU

Apr. 23, 2014 @ 06:41 PM

Tony West, an associate U.S. Attorney General, on Wednesday praised N.C. Central University for leading the way on campus sexual assault prevention.

“The reason I’m here is because we know some college campuses are getting it right,” West told reporters at the A.E. Student Union. “Central is one of those campuses.”

He credited the university with using two three-year grants, totaling $570,000, to take a holistic approach to preventing sexual assault.

The university partners with the community, provides services to women and now wants to do more to involve young men to raise awareness about the issue.

“We are proud to be their partner,” West said.

His stop at NCCU kicked off a national campaign by President Barack Obama’s administration about the importance of awareness about sexual assault on college campuses.

Federal statistics indicate that 20 percent of female undergraduates report that they’re victims of sexual abuse, West said.

“We know that’s underreported,” he said. “We know it’s something we can’t tolerate.”

Chimi Boyd-Keyes, director of the Women’s Center at NCCU, said it felt fantastic for the university to earn recognition for the work of the Helpers and Advocates for Violence Ending Now (or HAVEN) program.

Across all historically black colleges and universities, she said, the sexual assault reporting rate is about 14 percent.

“On a campus with 8,200 students, that’s a lot of people affected by sexual violence,” Boyd-Keyes said.

She noted that in communities of color, people don’t always talk openly about such issues.

“Something like this gives us a chance to have a real dialogue about it,” she said.

For information about the women’s center and its efforts against stalking and violence, visit nccu.edu/womenscenter/violence.cfm.

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