First Lady Sue Snyder to host June 8 summit on campus sexual assault

Michigan First Lady Sue Snyder recently announced the state’s first campus sexual assault prevention summit to be held Monday, June 8, at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing.

The day long “Inform. Empower. Prevent. Let’s End Campus Sexual Assault Summit.” aims to make Michigan a model state in the fight against sexual assault amongst the college age population. The summit is the first step in an ongoing campaign to inform communities, empower individuals and ultimately bring an end to campus sexual assault.

“Sexual assault has been a sensitive topic gaining national attention and I believe Michigan can and should be a leader in addressing this critical issue,” Snyder said. “As a mom whose youngest daughter will soon be a college sophomore, this issue has taken on a personal meaning. As first lady it’s an honor to use my voice in an effort to make our students’ home away from home – our college campuses, safer.”

Co-hosted by state Sens. Tonya Schuitmaker and Rebekah Warren and state Reps. Laura Cox and Marilyn Lane, the summit is a bipartisan effort bringing together college and university representatives, legislators, law enforcement officials, and students for a series of discussion panels and networking sessions.

“Our colleges and universities are already doing a lot of good work but there is always more that can be done. It is my hope we can change the culture surrounding assault, encourage collaborative problem solving and identify current best practices in an effort to lessen assaults on college and university campuses,” Snyder said.

The summit keynote address will be given by Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez from Pepper Hamilton LLP, two nationally recognized attorneys who have dedicated their careers to investigating and responding to sexual assault, intimate partner violence and child abuse. Smith and Gomez have a national practice dedicated to the institutional response to sexual misconduct. They help colleges and universities and K-12 schools develop policies, systems, and practices that are compassionate, trauma-informed, fair and impartial, and legally compliant.

The keynote address and all general sessions of the summit will be open to media. At these sessions, summit attendees will hear from a number of nationally recognized experts on the topic of college sexual assault:

Emma Hanrahan and Lauren Debski, sexual assault survivors working with the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAIN), will share their personal stories and highlight the struggles they faced following their assaults.

Dr. Rebecca Campbell, Michigan State University psychology professor and nationally renowned community-based research expert will discuss the neurobiological effects victims experience when seeking help following an assault.

Casey Corcoran, program director at Futures Without Violence, will host a main session examining national best practices for creating a comprehensive response to sexual violence on campus.

Dr. Antonia Abbey, Wayne State University psychology professor will share research regarding the role of alcohol in college sexual assaults.

The four summit co-chairs, Schuitmaker, Warren, Cox and Lane will also be joined by Debi Cain, director of the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board for a moderated Q&A session to discuss the state’s role in preventing assault.

Additional topics for the breakout sessions range from covering new ways to incorporate technology, measuring effectiveness of current initiatives, bystander intervention techniques, and effective marketing strategies. Students will also have the opportunity to develop an action plan to take back to their campuses for the 2015-2016 school year.

Based on available space, summit attendance is limited to campus representatives and issue experts. A live stream option will be available with information to follow.

Additional summit details, speakers and a full summit agenda can be found at