KASU

Arkansas State forms group to discuss race, sex assault

Feb 13, 2017

Credit Arkansas State University

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas State University officials are hoping to create a council to address the campus climate.

The national Campus Climate Network Group defines campus climate as behaviors in a work or learning environment "ranging from subtle to cumulative to dramatic" that can influence whether someone feels safe, valued and respected.

Interim Chancellor Doug Whitlock said Thursday that he wants to create a council to focus on the issue at the school, the Jonesboro Sun (http://bit.ly/2kQSzer ) reported. He said while he doesn't feel that the university has a hostile campus climate, "I do think we can do better."

"There is the concern about what some have described as a 'rape culture' on this campus," he said. "We had an instance of racial insensitivity last fall. Most recently we have the worries that our international students have experienced."

He wants the council to foster understanding across a variety of cultural, religious and racial lines. The council would consist of administrators influential enough to affect climate, as well as representatives selected by Greek organizations, the Gay-Straight Alliance, the Muslim Student Association, HOLA (Hispanic group) and the Black Student Association. These members would provide recommendations for appropriate responses to issues impacting campus climate.

"I hope that the committee will mediate if there is ever an issue and also actively educate people so we can prevent them in the future, not just respond to them after they have already happened," sophomore Braelen Hunt said.

The proposal was outlined in an email sent to university members. It will be presented Wednesday to the Shared Governance Oversight Committee.

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Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, http://www.jonesborosun.com