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Tuesday - February 27, 2018 1:49 am

Sexual misconduct claims rise at UW-L and that's a good thing

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Having sexual misconduct calls on a university go up from one year to the next doesn't sound like good news, but at least one official says it is.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2017 had 93 students seek help related to sexual misconduct. That's up from 78 in 2016.

"We've made a real concerted effort in recent years to make sure that people know what reporting obligations are, where to go for help and what kind of help is available," UW-L violence prevention specialist Ingrid Peterson said. "And, I think, what we're seeing is people are coming forward for help."

Peterson added that she doesn't believe the numbers are any different than in the past, just that more are reporting it.

And when it comes to reporting, Peterson said victims have three options, including not making it official.

"A lot of what I do is just refer people for counseling or medical follow up," she said. "But, if they do want to pursue some sort of action, they can either report it to the police or report it to the university."

Peterson credits the "Think about it" course, an online class on sexual harassment and assault on campus, that is taken the summer before a freshman's first semester, as a reason for more action, as well.

Drew Kelly

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