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Morning Call: Moravian College students combating sexual assaults on campus. Here’s how

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THE MORNING CALL | SEP 19, 2019 | 2:20 PM

Moravian College's student government has invested in door viewers in a freshmen dormitory. Here, a resident assistant Britney Blaise hangs a sign below the door viewer.

Moravian College's student government has invested in door viewers in a freshmen dormitory. Here, a resident assistant Britney Blaise hangs a sign below the door viewer. (Courtesy of Moravian College / The Morning Call)

Moravian College senior Matt Geary knows that sexual assaults happen on every college campus, including the Bethlehem one.

That’s why Geary, president of the United Student Government at Moravian, and others have invested money allocated to them by the college in initiatives to combat sexual assaults, such as cameras on shuttles, door viewers in dormitories and T-shirts promoting consent.

“We acknowledge that sexual violence is an issue on campus,” Geary said. “So let’s do something about it.”

This fall, Geary and the student government are working to install door viewers — also known as peep holes and similar to ones that hotel rooms and apartments have. The long-term goal is for every dormitory to have one, but for now, about 70 door viewers have been placed in a freshman hall. The purpose is to allow students to see who is knocking on their door before opening it to someone who could be harmful.

Another resource the student government has invested in is installing one camera so far on a college shuttle that transfers students from locations on the weekend. The student government has also invested in T-shirts with the saying, “Got Consent?" that have been worn by students across campus.

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So far, the student government has spent more than $10,000 on those plans, said Geary, who is from West Chester.

As student government president, Geary said he wanted to see the group’s money be applied to actual changes on campus. For him, that’s in facilities, such as the shuttle’s camera and door viewers, that can also protect students from sexual misconduct.

Moravian College, which enrolls almost 2,000 undergraduates, had eight reported rapes and three dating violence cases on campus in 2018, according to the college.

The student government has teamed up with another group on campus, Hounds Against Sexual Assaults, said junior Alec Buttner, one of the vice presidents of student government. That’s where the T-shirts have been distributed; efforts also include posters and events that promote a dialogue on sexual misconduct.

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“We want to make sure everyone feels safe on campus,” said Buttner, a Wilson Area High School graduate. “Everyone can play a role in that. Everyone is looking out for each other.”

After the student government invested in door viewers for freshmen dorms, the college funded about 45 similar ones in the women’s hall on campus, Geary said.

The door viewers have been met with praise, he said. Both Geary and Buttner serve as tour guides and said prospective parents have been pleased with the tool to help keep their children safe.

To Geary, having the student government provide for these plans shows that students are taking sexual misconduct seriously.

“We as students invested our money," he said. “That speaks highly of the student body. We’re a group of students who are actively trying to combat this.”

Morning Call reporter Jacqueline Palochko can be reached at 610-820-6613 or at jpalochko@mcall.com.

This article originally appeared on the Morning Call website, to read online visit Moravian College students combating sexual assaults on campus. Here’s how