UW-Madison rejects fully funded sexual assault reporting app on campus
MADISON, Wis. — University of Wisconsin-Madison Dean of Students denied students’ request to implement a sexual assault reporting app on campus.
In the email sent out to student and member of Student Title IX Advisory Committee, Petra Walech, the dean explained the following:
“After considering the feedback from staff and students, we have concluded that our collective concerns about the use of Callisto on our campus currently outweigh the benefits of adopting it at this time. Primarily, our campus is focused on increasing outreach and reports regarding all types of sexual misconduct — including dating violence and stalking — and Callisto primarily focuses on sexual harassment and assault … and Callisto is tailored specifically toward undergraduate students.”
Walech said she spoke with staff at Callisto who said these claims are simply not true.
“The folks at Callisto were wonderful and said we are able to adapt it on campuses so it can serve literally everyone who is an employee or student of the university.”
Walech also said the app can adapt to the needs of campuses and will report any type of sexual assault.
“The school will miss out because they will not be able to see what’s really going on on campus,” Walech said. “I was disappointed not only in the decision but also in the way that that decision was conveyed. I think, especially at Madison, as students, our instructors tell us to be transparent and honest and to cite our sources when we do our homework. What was most disappointing is that the three reasons listed for not adopting Callisto with the pilot program were all reasons that were not rooted in truth.”
According to Callisto’s website, students who have used the app on other campuses are six times more likely to report their assault, 15 percent of repeat perpetrators have been matched, and students were three times more likely to get help when needed.
“The school talks a lot about changing culture and this is a huge step,” Walech said. “You can’t change the culture if you don’t even know what’s going on. And if people aren’t comfortable coming forward, you’re not going to be able to change the culture. If they don’t want to adopt Callisto, that’s fine. But there is more work that needs to be done.”
No one in the dean’s office was available to comment, but according to the article by the Badger Herald, UW spokesperson Meredith McGlone said “while the university appreciates the donor’s generosity, the Callisto software did not appropriately fit the needs of UW. The university did conduct a review of the software led by students, faculty and staff.”
More information about the proposal can be found here.
STIXAC’s response can be found here.
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