Posted at: 04/04/2013 7:09 PM
Updated at: 04/04/2013 10:40 PM
By: Travis Dill
Incidents of racism have plagued UMD recently, but administrators hope a new system for reporting discrimination or safety issues will help.
If students experience discrimination or sexual harassment at UMD they are encouraged to report it, but sophomore Elise Roche said that important process is not clear to students.
“I think that incident reporting is very important on campus. It's not a very well covered subject and it's always nice to promote that awareness for students in case of an emergency,” Roche said.
Nearly 200 students and employees gathered Thursday to learn more about the reporting system, but administrators like Vice Chancellor Lisa Erwin want to spread the message farther.
“Can we use social media, can we use the website, can we use email, posters, seminar classes, residence life meetings? How can we develop an approach that is multi-prong,” Erwin said.
Erwin said that will lead to more reports the university can then use to find trends.
“But you can see over time whether it's bullying, or sexual harassment or discrimination and get a sense of what the campus climate is really like. We know there are issues; this will help us understand them better,” Erwin said.
She said that could mean more direct intervention with students in the future. Right now, students like Roche said the emphasis on reporting is a step in the right direction.
“Actually campus got a little better this year because they have easier incident reporting, like right one the first page of the website now, and that just happened this year. So it seems like they're getting better,” Roche said.
Students were also concerned about what happens after they report an incident. Administrators said investigations do occur, but they rely on detailed reports to make that possible.