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From the Ann Arbor News

29. June 2004 • Rob Goodspeed
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But you heard it first here …

U-M won’t unplug sex assault crisis line

After pressure from student activists, the University of Michigan is backing down from a plan to close a 24-hour crisis line for students who suffered sexual assault or abuse.

U-M’s about-face means the hotline will continue to be run by its Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, but it will be staffed by full-time professionals instead of student volunteers. If U-M had closed the hotline, students would have been directed to a local crisis line run by Washtenaw County’s Safe House.

The university also agreed to tap an outside expert to look at the other changes proposed for SAPAC that also drew fire from students. Those changes would allow SAPAC to focus on education, prevention and advocacy surrounding the issue of sexual abuse. Its counselors would be moved to U-M’s general counseling office.

  1. Echoing my earlier comment on Sam Woll’s post:

    Is this really much an improvement/concession, though? None of the UM administration-planned SAPAC changes seemed necessary at all in the first place. And student volunteers are still being “punished” by not being allowed to woman/man the crisis line any more. (Guess they “shouldn’t” have complained about the UM basketball team last summer with that petition…..)
    So, while any partial return to the original and worthy SAPAC format is good, maybe it’s just minor or, worse, a snare or distraction, in the broad picture.
       —David Boyle    Jun. 29 '04 - 01:54PM    #
  2. Good thing you put scare quotes around that “punished.” I’d figure that professionals could do the job better than students with a couple of workshop training sessions under their belts. Won’t this be an increase in quality?
       —js    Jun. 30 '04 - 04:18PM    #
  3. I have my doubts. According to one commentator I shan’t name (to protect her privacy), she very recently called the SAPAC hotline and it’s ALREADY been changed over to the “professionals” before the supposed 7/1 date. Second, she had to wait 25 minutes, and then hung up, I believe: they may have only one!!! “professional” to serve the whole line for 24 hours.

    Re punishment: I doubt students are necessarily any worse than “professional” counselors, especially since the “professionals” have not all been fully TRAINED yet, I recall hearing. And, by “punishment”, I mean that I suspect this whole “fragment SAPAC” thing is just an insanely elaborate form of revenge against SAPAC volunteers and/or staff for their daring to complain about Bernard Robinson Jr.’s behavior, in the first place (see, e.g., “SAPAC petition demands punishment” Michigan Daily 5/27/03, at ).
       —David Boyle    Jun. 30 '04 - 08:15PM    #