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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Report. Respond. Receive resources.

Student+Assistance+Services%2C+the+Student+Counseling+Helpline+and+the+Sexual+Assault+Resource+Center+are+all+available+resources+for+students+who+have+been+sexually+assaulted.
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Student Assistance Services, the Student Counseling Helpline and the Sexual Assault Resource Center are all available resources for students who have been sexually assaulted.

Preparing to report a perpetrator, mustering up the courage to seek help or discussing your experience with sexual abuse can all be very difficult. But Texas A&M staff can help.
Sexual assault survivors can access a number of resources on campus if they are looking to report a sexual assault case to authorities, looking for someone to talk to or looking to learn more about giving consent and maintaining healthy relationships. These resources, such as the University Police Department and their Victim Advocate program and Student Assistance Services (SAS) work to educate and provide assistance to survivors of sexual assault.
By connecting students with the appropriate personnel to help with personal and academic issues, SAS serves as one of the main resources on campus which students report to when dealing with sexual assault. Melanie McKoin, case manager for SAS, said each survivor of sexual abuse requires a different kind of support when it comes to the grieving and healing process.
“[We ask], ‘Are we getting them connected with our victims advocate over in the UPD, College Station Police Department or Bryan Police Department?’” McKoin said. “It’s really addressing a student as they are and meeting them where they are, so sometimes it’s in those conversations. It’s seeing what they need, where they’re at, helping them figure out what they need.”
If students are looking to report their sexual assault case to the university, SAS is the place to go, according to McKoin. After reporting a case to SAS, a university investigation will begin and offenders will be held accountable based on student rules outlined in the student code of conduct. If university investigators find the alleged offender is responsible for the sexual assault, the case will then make its way to the student conduct office, where the offender can face a number of consequences, ranging from expulsion from the university to required enrollment in consent classes.
Kristen Harrell, associate director for the Dean of Student Life, said students should be aware of the difference between the law and university rules.
“If someone chooses to report [a sexual assault case] to the university, they are not obligated to go to the police, but we also don’t prevent them from going to the police so that they will be in control whether or not they go to law enforcement, or if they choose to pursue the university process.” Harrell said
For incidents which occurred on campus, the UPD can assist students who would like to open a criminal investigation. To provide support and information throughout this process, UPD has a Victim Advocate program, led by Kristen Brunson, which helps students know what to expect after opening a criminal investigation into a reported incident.
“One of the things working with survivors is just giving the control back to them,” Brunson said. “I think one of the things with my position, being the fact that I can give people information and still be respectful of what they want to do in that situation, is really important because they’ve likely had control taken away from them.”
Lt. Bobby Richardson said Brunson’s role in the Victim Advocate program is an essential asset to UPD, because Brunson serves as a liaison between those who are confused about the reporting process and police officers who want to make campus a safer place for all students.
“You walk up to me on the street and say, ‘Hey Lieutenant, I have a friend that was sexually assaulted. What do you think I should do?’ I can’t report it if you don’t tell me,” Richardson said. “I’m in a difficult situation. I’m a guy in a uniform, I want to help you, so here is where Kristen’s role comes in. I say, ‘Hey, here is Kristen’s number, she can hook you up with student services, student conduct, College Station police, Phoebe’s Home, so we use her as our go-to person.’ … When it comes to sexual assault, she is our most valuable resource.”

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    Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

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