On-campus group wants changes, updates to sexual assault policy

By Diana Hernandez

October 2, 2013

While some universities or colleges around the country have more than 10 pages in their student handbooks defining and describing sexual assault policies, Dominican University’s sexual misconduct policy section is less than one page long.

Dominican’s student organization Domestic Abuse Stops Here, or D.A.S.H., thrives to educate the Dominican community on issues regarding domestic and sexual abuse and encourage students to voice their concerns for change on campus and at the national level.

D.A.S.H. hopes the university will, at some point in the near future, revise the sexual misconduct policy section in the student handbook.

“The policy should be detailed, and should provide information with accessible language to help aid any and all students who do not have a background in information surrounding sexual misconduct,” senior and co-president of D.A.S.H., Dominique Rodriguez, said.

Junior and Co-President Violet Gallardo, one the more outspoken advocates for D.A.S.H., also thinks the handbook is in need of updating and should have a more inclusive attitude towards sexual assault survivors.

“It’s not so much that I want to change the handbook, but I want to add more on to it,” Gallardo said. “The definitions of sexual assault and abuse need to go more into depth and embrace a more sex-positive attitude for survivors. Other schools have sexual misconduct sections almost 10 pages long, and I would just like our handbook to be a little more comprehensive and be able to promote sexual literacy.”

Gallardo also spoke about using D.A.S.H. and a newly revised sexual assault policy to build strong bonds and promote healthy relationships with survivors of any kind of sexual abuse.

“We want to create a safe place for all those impacted by violence in their lives and all those who seek to create an environment free from violence,” she said.

Besides a proposed revisal of the policy, D.A.S.H. is also expressing encouragement over future events at Dominican that will be opportunities for even further inclusiveness. In collaboration with Residence Life and Common Ground, Dominican’s LGBTQ awareness organization, D.A.S.H. is looking forward to holding a drag show later this year.

“We want this event to not only be a fun night that explores drag culture, but to also touch on issues of healthy relationships and LGBTQ matters,” Gallardo explained.