Florida A&M University held a virtual town hall on Monday to address sexual misconduct on or near FAMU’s campus. This came after accounts began appearing on Twitter and other social media calling out individuals and accusing them of sexual assault.
Many of the students who allegedly committed the acts were FAMU students and members of well known organizations.
The town hall meeting featured panelists who are part of FAMU’s faculty. They said their department there to help victims of sexual assault.
“It is important that we as administrators train all of you to recognize the signs of sexual misconduct and to educate all on how to prevent it,” said Bomani Spell, associate vice president and dean of students.
“We want the opportunity for every student who are victims of sexual misconduct to know the proper channels in reporting this crime to us.”
Spell went on to say that there will be some sort of sexual assault program along with resources that will be implemented in the fall.
In addition to the resources, organizations such as Warriors Against Rape were mentioned for their work in bringing awareness regarding sexual assault.
Many of the students took to social media to voice their opinions about the town hall meeting. They were mostly unimpressed and even commented on how the department heads were just reading off a document.
Although some expressed their disappointment that the school has ignored so many of the alleged assaults, the university’s police department’s annual security report shows fewer than 10 reports of sexual misconduct in the past two years.
According to FAMU Police Chief Terrance Calloway, the there were only three reports of sexual misconduct from 2019 and 2020. None of these events resulted “adverse action” due to the survivors’ ultimately deciding to not prosecute their attacker.
When asked about the frustrations voiced on social media about the FAMU Police Department’s lack of effort regarding assault, Calloway said there other factors that are in play when investigating.
“The FAMU Police Department takes every case seriously,” Calloway said. “However, there is information that we need from survivors. There are steps and processes that must be taken into consideration when the police department is investigating the sexual assault.”
Additional training that Is designed to express “empathy and sympathy” will take place withinFAMU PD, he added.
FAMU also used this time to introduce the new victim advocate, Hannah Cronic.
“If you have a traumatic situation and you’re not sure who to come to, you can always come to me,” Cronicsaid.
Cronic works with numerous survivors and stressed that all talks with her are confidential. She has connections with Florida State University, Tallahassee Community College, Tallahassee Police Department and Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Cronic serves on the domestic violence coordinating counsel and sexual response team in Leon County.
The meeting ended with closing remarks from Vice President of Student Affairs William Hudson, who provided the contact information for both on and off-campus resources. Hudson also emphasized that both the main and satellite campuses conduct mandatory sexual harassment and Title IX training for faculty, staff and students.
“This isn’t the last conversation,” Hudsonsaid. “We will continue to be proactive and have these discussions.”
If anyone believes they have been a victim of sexual assault or knows anyone who was, they are encouraged to reach out so that they are able to get the resources they need. Much of the information such as contact for specific offices can be found on FAMU’s website.