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Minnesota Office of Higher Education Strengthens Efforts to Prevent Campus Sexual Violence

2/15/2018


 

Melissa Kwon will lead the office's campus sexual violence prevention and response strategies

Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
(651) 259-3902

St. Paul, MN  Minnesota colleges and students now have an additional resource to help prevent sexual violence and intimate partner/dating/domestic violence on campus and improve incident responses.

Commissioner Larry Pogemiller, Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) is pleased to announce the hiring of Melissa Kwon in the position of Campus Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator.

In 2015, Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature enacted new requirements for college campuses to provide sexual assault training to students and staff, as well as enhance cooperation efforts between institutions and local law enforcement. Kwon is tasked with supporting colleges in these efforts, especially at smaller institutions that may lack the resources necessary to fulfill these requirements.

"Melissa will help strengthen statewide efforts to both reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses, and support victim and survivors with a better understanding of their rights and protections," said Pogemiller. "I encourage college campuses to reach out to her for support and additional resources."

Beginning this spring, Kwon will schedule regional listening sessions at college campuses across the state to learn more about what efforts are being made to prevent sexual assaults and where more support may be needed.

"While it is critically important that colleges know how to respond to a sexual violence, my top priority is prevention," said Kwon. "I would like nothing better than to work myself out of a job."

The 2015 legislation also requires postsecondary institutions to collect and report the number of sexual assaults reported to the institution and the follow-up responses to these reports. Categories include the number of sexual assaults reported, how many were investigated by the institution, and the number in which the victim reported to law enforcement, to name a few.

The data collection and display is managed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and is updated annually. More information can be found here.

Prior to coming to OHE, Kwon worked at the Minnesota Department of Health, Sexual Violence Prevention Program. She has also worked in the capacity of a researcher, evaluator and affiliate and adjunct faculty member, where she developed and taught programs around sexual violence prevention at postsecondary institutions and non-profit organizations. In 2013, she was appointed by Governor Dayton to serve on the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans to represent the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Kwon received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Education from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley.

For more information, contact Sandy Connolly at 651-259-3902 or by email at sandy.connolly@state.mn.us.


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