Early this year, a passionate team from the Graduate Employees Union at Michigan State University reached out wanting to incorporate survivor-centric language into the Graduate Employee contract and make meaningful change at the University.
We met and discuss what the current contract was (which had no mention of relationship violence and sexual misconduct/RVSM), how they wanted to change it, and what wording and policy would be our recommendation.
After a grueling couple of months at the negotiation table, they've made some big gains. Here is a summary from the GEU team:
1) The university committed to properly train TAs on both anti-discrimination and harassment (ADAH) and RVSM. The university promised to make in-person RVSM training that includes information on 'sensitively responding to survivors' available to all TAs in addition to the annual online training requirements. We are interpreting 'sensitively respond' as responding supportively. To our knowledge, this is the first graduate union contract to include language about supporting survivors.
2) The university agreed to provide TAs with a standardized list of university and community resources that we can share with survivors.
3) The university agreed to equitable representation for the GEU to provide input when the RVSM and ADAH policies are revised. The team hopes to use this as an opportunity to continue pushing the university to make these policies more survivor-centric.
4) The university agreed to make the process of filing a Title IX complaint more transparent by promising to provide regular updates on the progress of Title IX investigations.
While there is still work to be done at MSU, and across the nation, the tentatively agreed to contract is a huge step in the right direction! We are proud to have been a part of this process!
January 2019-May 2019
The Army of Survivors was proud to work with HBO and Global Sports Development to create and distribute resources surrounding the At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal documentary premiere. We worked with several other national non-profits to create a list of resources for survivors, parents, athletes, and communities. We also partnered to create a viewing support guide with important self-care practices for those who may have experienced something similar and therefore, may have a hard time viewing the film.
In January 2019, some talented and driven medical students from Michigan State Medical Society Medical Student Section reached out to our organization for advice. They were looking to change the wording of the policy about chaperones in exam rooms in Michigan. The policy was written with focus on protecting the physician against “false allegations” rather than protecting patients from sexual abuse.
We worked with their organization to talk through the challenges, intricacies, and necessities of this policy, as well as what makes a good victim centered policy.
Then they put in the work.
We are incredibly excited to announce that the chaperone policy was accepted by MSMS and is now policy. A lobbyist will work to turn this wording into Michigan legislation.
The Army of Survivors is proud to have been a part of this huge project. Thank you to the authors for their dedication and passion to making medicine in Michigan safer!
The exhibition at MSU, “Finding our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak,” honors the survivors’ continuing struggle to call public attention to sexual violence, and to promote dignity, healing, and positive transformation locally and globally. The director of the museum, Mark Auslander, has requested that The Army of Survivors be a part of the exhibition by providing material and resources for the public. The exhibit, underwritten by Grewal Law PLLC, will open to the public on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. and will run through March 20, 2020.
April 2019 - March 2020
The Michigan State University Museum and The Army of Survivors have partnered to launch a roundtable discussion series to raise awareness and provide education on the effects of sexual violence. The series will kick off on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. Four sessions will be held at the MSU Museum and one session will be held at the MSU Detroit Center.
Museum Director Mark Auslander remarks, “The Museum is delighted to be partnering with the Army of Survivors, an important advocacy organization for survivors of sexual violence. We are especially delighted that sister survivors will be participating in every one of these sessions, in conversation with scholars, practitioners, and other advocates.”
The five-panel series, which will continue into the spring, will touch on topics including trauma, consent, and healing. The discussions will also explore resisting sexual violence through a racial justice lens, and journalism coverage through a sexual violence crisis. Panelists include Kate Wells from Michigan Radio’s podcast “Believed,” Rebecca Campbell, a MSU professor of psychology known for her research pertaining to sexual assault and violence against women and children, and survivor and advocate Amanda Thomashow, who filed the title IX investigation against Nassar in 2014. Our own Louise Harder, Dr. Danielle Moore, and Melissa Hudecz will also be part of the panels.
To view videos from panel discussion CLICK HERE.
Dr. Danielle Moore will be researching more about the prevalence of sexual violence in sport, and its effect. Many of the statistics that can be found online are out of date by five or more years. It is our goal to have these statistics up on our website in the next few weeks.
Research on the prevalence of sexual violence in sport
Estimated Fall 2019