UW-Madison Police Department Chief Susan Riesling addressed issues of campus sexual assault at the semester’s first Associated Students of Madison Student Council meeting Wednesday.
Riesling reiterated the prevalence of assault both on campus and nationwide, noting UW-Madison had 164 sexual assaults reported to the university last year. She pointed out this number is higher than most universities, but speculated it could be a result of the university’s concerted effort to encourage reporting.
Riesling also discussed this year’s campaign against sexual assault, titled “Don’t Be That Guy.”
As opposed to last year’s “Tell Us” campaign that focused on encouraging survivors to report, this campaign will target men as agents of preventing sexual assault.
“We really want women to look at it and say is ‘Finally. Finally, it’s not just about the women and what the women are supposed to do to avoid being the victim,’” Riesling said.
In addition to general safety reminders about drug and alcohol use, especially in the first weeks of school, Riesling said all UWPD officers will be wearing body cameras beginning Oct. 1, an idea discussed in several student and faculty focus groups last year.
Riesling told council members that all footage will be available for public access.
The council also heard initial updates from committee chairs, which included Finance Committee Chair Ariela Rivkin introducing the idea of posting student organizations’ use of event and travel grants online for greater transparency.
Update Sept. 13: An earlier version of the story was updated to clarify that 164 sexual assault cases were reported to the university, not campus police specifically.