State grant helps university fight sexual assault

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A new grant from Governor Synder will help Michigan State combat sexual assault.

The 38-thousand dollar aid will go towards the MSU Bystander Network, a group that empowers people to take action if they see signs of sexual assault.

The network is working on an educational seminar for upperclassmen that they want to implement by the Fall 2017 semester. The class will build on the sexual assault workshops mandatory for incoming freshman.

“It’s taking it a step further and building on that education,” says Leah Short, MSU Bystander Network project coordinator.

When it comes to recognizing assault, Sergeant Andrea Munford of the Michigan State Police Department says that it’s important to trust your gut.

“A lot of times, [people] may not recognize it for what it is, but they know they have a bad feeling about it,” said Munford.

Sexual assault can happen anywhere, but according to Michigan State’s Title IX report, 30-percent of assaults happen off campus. And Munford says alcohol use can increase one’s risk of assault.

Last year, Munford and the special victims unit teamed up with the Bystander Network to train local bar staff on how to recognize sexual assault in their workplaces.

“We trained bar staff, bartenders, bouncers, even kitchen staff,” said Munford.

Local bartender Ian Bennett said that these measures are important.

“Customer safety is a top priority,” said Bennett. “What could it hurt to take measures to try to help?”