Whitmer to keynote 5th annual sexual assault summit

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer | Susan J. Demas

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is slated to be the keynote speaker at Michigan’s fifth annual Let’s End Campus Sexual Assault summit in December. 

    Sue Snyder | Wikimedia Commons

    The annual event is coordinated by former Michigan first lady Sue Snyder, who is married to Whitmer’s predecessor, Rick Snyder. Eastern Michigan University is set to host the 2019 summit, which is scheduled for Dec. 3. The theme of this year’s summit is cultural change, with a specific focus on “the roles individuals and institutions must play” in order to more efficiently prevent sexual assault. 

    “Every student in Michigan deserves to feel safe on campus,” Whitmer said in a statement. “But right now, we’re not doing enough to end sexual assault on campus, and as a result, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are victims of sexual assault while they are college students in Michigan.”

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    The summit comes at a time where the state is navigating the aftermath of a critical campus sexual assault crisis. In its 2018 Clery Act report, Michigan State University disclosed reports of rape attached to ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, now a convicted felon — 933 off-campus and 13 on campus, a record number. It also disclosed an additional 26 reports of rape on campus and eight reports of rape off-campus, which were unrelated to Nassar.

    MSU has faced scrutiny from state lawmakers, faculty, students and the public for a lack of administrative transparency and lack of concern for the safety of its students. 

    The summit will facilitate talk about a university’s role in preventing crises similar to the one that occurred at Michigan State. 

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    “We must get to work to change the culture around sexual assault on campus and ensure the safety of our students,” Whitmer said. “As a mom of teenage daughters and as a survivor myself, I’m proud to partner with the former First Lady to get to work on this crucial issue.”

    In previous years, summits have taken place at the Lansing Center and the University of Michigan. 

    Claire Moore
    Claire Moore covers the environment and the Capitol. She previously worked at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland as a public affairs staff science writer. She also previously covered crop sustainability and coal pollution issues for Great Lakes Echo. In addition, she served as editor in chief at The State News and covered its academics and research beat. She studies environment journalism and film at Michigan State University.

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