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Report: UConn students lack awareness, trust in sexual assault resources

A University of Connecticut report found students aren’t familiar enough with what resources to use and don’t trust the resources they are familiar with, such as going to administrators or police.
Mark Mirko
/
Connecticut Public
A University of Connecticut report found that students aren’t familiar enough with what sexual assault resources to use and don’t trust the resources they are familiar with, such as going to administrators or police.

The University of Connecticut released a new report Wednesday outlining findings from a task force designed to combat sexual violence on campus, according to school officials.

The task force was created this past spring after students protested and rallied around a student who claimed she was silenced by the university.

The report found that students aren’t familiar enough with what resources to use and don’t trust the resources they are familiar with, such as going to administrators or police.

“The University, police, and structures of authority are not necessarily trusted by our students. A perception of inaction or disinterest on behalf of the University leads to students distrusting the very resources that are designed to support them. While that was a painful truth to hear, it is essential that we thank the students who were forthcoming in expressing their concerns while the University seeks to be a trusted resource for our students,” the report says.

The university outlined its plan to fix this by increasing awareness of resources and training.

Interim University President Radenka Maric told the board of trustees in a meeting Wednesday that part of the issue is a need to improve communication on campus.

“It’s also important that when we think about the issues that students are facing as a member of our family community, how we engage them more,” Maric said.

University officials said they will also have an outside group analyze how it handles sex assault cases and prevention efforts.

“This evaluation should be comprehensive and focus on the efficacy of trainings, the success rate in communicating policies and resources to students, the efficiency of timelines for incidents referred to either the conduct or the criminal system including their ultimate resolution, and the timeliness of response time for support services,” according to the report.

UConn made national headlines in 2014 when it settled a federal lawsuit filed by five students claiming the school mishandled their sexual assault complaints.

The latest report said UConn will also roll out a new app that allows students to discreetly communicate with police.