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Student petitions for mandatory sexual harassment, consent courses at universities, colleges

Payton Shurley decided to do her women’s studies project over sexual harassment in college towns and started a petition that people find online and can sign.

“I decided to focus my studies on sexual harassment in college towns after doing research and finding that most victims are women ages 18-24,” Shurley said. “I began thinking about this topic after a philanthropy event that my sorority put on for the Ally Kemp foundation.”

In the media release that Shurley sent out, she said, “I decided that the best solution I could manage is to enforce that all colleges make sexual harassment and consent education courses mandatory for all enrolled students. By doing this, students will be knowledgeable about what to look out for, how it can be avoided, who to talk to about the topic, and what consent actually looks like. This will not demolish the issue of sexual assault, but I truly believe these education classes can help.”

For those who support this cause and want to contribute, Shurley’s petition can be found online at http://chng.it/8RKkjL8D.

“People can help by signing my petition and sharing it on their social media to help get the word out,” Shurley said.

On the webpage that the petition is found on, Shurley wrote, “I have found that it is very common in college towns due to the presence of alcohol and other drugs, lack of knowledge on consent, and peer pressure. I have also found that college-age students do not have knowledge of the severity of sexual assault or who to talk to about it. Research shows that 1 in 5 women in college experience some form of sexual assault. This petition is meant to encourage the national guidance of a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment. Also, this petition is meant to encourage national guidance that all universities require a sex education/harassment course that outlines the importance and meaning of consent, abuse, healthy relationships, and gender equality.”

Shurley hopes to encourage other universities and colleges to establish required harassment and consent courses.  

“I am hoping that my project will persuade universities all over the country to provide new students with sexual harassment (and) consent courses that will hopefully lead to lowering the numbers of sexual assault victims.”

Despite the topic being uncomfortable for some people to speak about, it is an issue that needs to be spoken about according to Shurley.

“I would like to add that this topic is hard to talk about but is a bigger issue than most people realize,” Shurley said. “I hope that I can continue to raise awareness and make a real change. Although I am not able to end the issue of sexual harassment completely, I believe that this is a step in the right direction.”

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