kNOw MORE looks forward to their role on campus
With an increasing amount of national attention being placed on issues regarding sexual misconduct, sexual assault and domestic violence, members of the university decided to bring these topics to the forefront of the student body and community.
The initiative, however, wasn’t spearheaded by the university’s president or provost. It was started by passionate faculty and students who came together to spark discussion on these issues and create the kNOw MORE campaign.
“Everything kind of began with the sexual misconduct survey that was sent out to students in 2015” the Associate Director for Diversity and Inclusion, Adam Foley says. “Some of the main results of that indicated a gap in knowledge in what sexual misconduct was, what consent was, how consent is defined and so really there was this observed need to provide some more education and resources for this community.”
Beginning with the survey and building incrementally over the next several months, members started to shape the foundation of the campaign. They began answering what it should look like, what it should be called and most importantly, what they aimed to achieve. By the campaign’s October 2016 debut, the group knew that above all else, kNOw MORE should be about providing education and resources for the campus community.
“We wanted to create this umbrella entity that was bringing together all the amazing work happening in different offices, departments, colleges and amidst the students organizations on campus,” Foley says. “We wanted to provide a network and conduit for all of those different players to talk to one another, and to encourage broader awareness and participation.”
Since the campaign’s launch, most of the on-campus efforts have been led by kNOw MORE ambassadors, who liason between, and help teach, other organizations on campus about sexual misconduct issues relevant to the campus community. Ambassadors are also in charge of distributing promotional and informational material across campus.
Ambassadors like sophomore Anna Shields help achieve two of kNOw MORE’s critical goals: further educating people and making the resources available to victims known.
“The whole point of the kNOw MORE campaign is to raise awareness about the policy itself, and what is and is not consent and misconduct,” Shields says. “So first we raise awareness about the policy, but then, when there is a breach of the policy, we raise awareness about the resources if someone has been a victim.”
Now in its second year on campus, kNOw MORE has made meaningful strides toward promoting greater education, according to Shields. While the campaign’s impact can be difficult to measure from a quantitative standpoint, the sheer increase in intergroup networking, like within greek life and resident student organizations (RSO’s), suggests solid and qualitative progress.
But there are other ways to measure success. When she’s asked by someone to educate them about kNOw MORE’s goals, Shields says that there are a few things people should take away .
“I would make them aware of what consent really is, it needs to be clear and enthusiastic and sober, that is a very important point to stress to people,” Shields says. “From there, stressing the resources that are available to people, they at least know that if there is a problem, I can go to this website and here’s who I can call.”
For senior Sarah Ford, another kNOw MORE Ambassador, conveying that sentiment is just as important within the university community as it is nationwide, and organizations like kNOw MORE can be the key to bridging the two.
“I think its a budding role at this point, and it’s definitely growing in importance. Sexual misconduct and sexual assault certainly are not becoming any less relevant,” Ford says. “You look at the news and you see stuff like Harvey Weinstein, there is a lot of that going.”
For both national organizations and kNOw MORE alike, providing clear and consistent services to members of the community is important for the movement’s growth.
“It’s a place to provide information and a safe place for students, so that survivors know that there are people willing to support them and stand up for them,” Ford says. “And also to prevent sexual assault in the first place by giving people the information about consent and what healthy relationships look like.”
The country’s drive to address issues like sexual misconduct is fueled by everything from federal government agencies to local communities. But according to Foley, groups like kNOw MORE have unique potential to generate change.
“Change happens at the local level, change happens in connections that are made between peers, and between people that you know,” Foley says. “You’re much more likely to internalize messages and be more open to learning from people that you’re familiar with. We’re in the position with the most opportunity for change.”