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Student Voice Shapes Sexual Misconduct Prevention at Butler

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Mar 27 2020

On a college campus, students are the ones who know better than anyone else what’s going on in their world. Whether that means having heard the buzz about the latest hit TV show or holding a deep understanding of the everyday challenges young people face, students can often relate to other students better than most staff and faculty ever will.

So, when it comes to preventing sexual misconduct, it’s essential to listen to what those students have to say.

At Butler University, campus leaders are inviting students to join conversations about this issue at monthly meetings of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Taskforce. The group has been around for years, including a few student members who were directly invited based on previous involvement in prevention programming. But when leaders opened student membership up to a general application process last spring, the group gained a brand new life and momentum. The taskforce received 62 applications from students across the University, accepting about 10 student members plus representatives from key organizations such as the Student Government Association (SGA) and PAVE (Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment). Now, applications are open for the 2020–2021 academic year.

“The meetings this semester have had so many students present,” says Jules Arthur-Grable, Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Specialist. “I think that really indicates how important these issues are to them, how much they care, and how much they want to make a difference.”

Co-chaired by Arthur-Grable and Title IX Coordinator Maria Kanger, the taskforce works to unite prevention efforts already happening across the University, as well as to develop and promote new education programs that meet the needs of Butler students. Welcoming more student members who represent a broader range of the campus community has helped Arthur-Grable and Kanger learn more about what those needs are, which kinds of events might resonate best with students, and how to effectively spread the word about those events and other programming.

“Our students really care about this, even if they aren’t directly involved in student organizations or other groups that are focused on this all the time,” Kanger says. “They really do want to make a difference, and they feel like they can.”

This academic year, that student voice has led to the creation of a lot more programming based on pop culture and the things students see every day across all kinds of media. During welcome week, peer-facilitated workshops under the name “Sexy, Can I?” covered the basics of consent. In October, the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention (SARP) Office recognized National Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a discussion about the role social media can play in promoting unhealthy relationship behaviors. Another program analyzed the Netflix show You to talk about how students can recognize stalking, and a “bad date dinner” right before Valentine’s Day invited guests to think through specific situations and how they would respond.

“I’ve seen students on the taskforce take ownership of these programs and really get excited about them,” Kanger says. “They feel connected to this. The work of prevention is the work of the entire campus community.”

One recent TV-inspired event used episodes of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, pointing out examples of the contestants’ unhealthy behaviors—things like gaslighting, manipulation, isolation, or sabotage.

“We talked about the role this popular show has in how people perceive relationships in real life, and how it normalizes unhealthy behavior,” Arthur-Grable explains. “Afterward, some of the attendees asked for a list of healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors to take with them, so they could use it to continue the conversation while watching the show with their friends.”

As a student member of the taskforce, junior Ben Traverso feels like his input has been truly valued during program planning over the last few semesters. He says student involvement on the taskforce helps other students feel more comfortable asking for the help they need.

“We are there to say, ‘this is how students feel, this is why, and here’s what we can do to try to change that,’” says the Political Science and History major. “We are there to help build a bridge between the SARP Office, the Title IX Coordinator, and the student body.”

Junior Health Science major Lauren Lippert agrees, saying the taskforce is meant to be a central place for the Butler community to gather together, share ideas, and stay informed about the resources available on campus.

“I think it’s really important for students to be a part of that,” she says, “especially for the other students who feel more comfortable seeking help from someone their age—someone who could maybe relate a little more on their level.”

Kanger says that, while changing culture in ways that prevent sexual misconduct is a years-long project, providing a safe space where people can seek help is a vital first step.

“At the end of the day,” she says, “the goal for all our prevention efforts is to create a culture where consent is sought and received for every sexual activity, healthy relationships are the norm, and where everyone steps up and says something if they see something isn’t right.”

 

If you are a Butler student interested in joining the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Taskforce, you can apply here by April 13. Contact Jules Arthur-Grable (jearthur@butler.edu) or Maria Kanger (mkanger@butler.edu) with any questions.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

taskforce
Student-Centered

Student Voice Shapes Sexual Misconduct Prevention at Butler

Student members of this taskforce have transformed how University leaders approach prevention programming

Mar 27 2020 Read more
Levenshus home office
Student-Centered

Butler Faculty Put Students First in Switch to Online Learning

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Mar 19 2020

While the suspension of on-campus classes in response to COVID-19 has been a letdown for students and educators across the nation, Butler University faculty are working hard to create new learning opportunities in the midst of crisis.

“It is deeply disappointing for many, if not all, members of our campus community that we will not learn and work together in person in the coming weeks,” wrote Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kathryn Morris in a recent message to students, leading up to today’s launch of online learning. “Yet, by and large, people in our community are coming together virtually to make the best out of a truly challenging situation—with YOU, our students, at the heart of our efforts. Faculty have just spent three intensive days preparing for this transition. They are working harder than ever to provide you with the same high-quality educational experience you are accustomed to at Butler.”

For Abbey Levenshus, an Associate Professor of Strategic Communication, that means drawing on the current crisis to provide an up-close and personal case study for her students who are studying issues management.

Even before COVID-19 began to affect all of us in some way, Levenshus was using the outbreak as an example for how issues evolve over time. At first, the class looked at this as an early or “emergent” situation. Over the last several weeks, students watched as the issue progressed to “current,” and then “dominant,” and, now, “crisis.”

Even in emails to students regarding the logistics of switching to online learning, Levenshus has offered mini-lessons on how the pandemic is a living model of the concepts they have been learning all semester.

“But then I also remind them that this issue, too, will pass,” Levenshus says. “Eventually, this will be dormant. Right now, it’s very real, it’s very present, and it’s having a serious disruptive impact on our lives. But we’re going to be okay—we will figure this out.”

 

 

Levenshus records her first video message for students in the transition to online learning. She explains how she's adapting to this new normal, and she shares a tour of her new "office" in the basement of her home.

 

To move class content online over the last week, Levenshus started by inviting students to join the process. An email survey gathered data about the students’ living and learning situations: What technology can they access? Do they have textbooks? Have they ever taken an online class? She used the answers to those questions while deciding how to move forward with the semester.

“That really helped me because I felt like we were doing it as a team, even though we’re separated right now,” she says.

And Levenshus says it’s that separation—not the workload of moving online—that’s the hardest part.

“You know, you love these students,” she says. “I think one of the strengths of Butler is that you have these smaller classes where you really get to know one another. There is a deep sense of loss in terms of that classroom community. But part of my job is helping students gain perspective: If we can grieve our own losses while also looking for opportunities to be thankful, I think we will get through this even stronger together.”

Shelly Furuness, an Associate Professor of Education, is also grieving the loss of face-to-face interaction. Still, especially for the Butler seniors currently serving as student-teachers in K-12 schools, Furuness says students are gaining valuable experience in adapting through disruption.

“This is not about perfection,” she explains. “It’s about modeling how to teach in the face of the unexpected.”

For example, Butler students will continue supporting teachers at a Zionsville middle school with the design and creation of e-learning content. Furuness says the digital space can actually give educators more time to experiment with presenting the same material in a variety of ways, making the experience more accessible to students of all learning styles—something teachers don’t normally have the opportunity to do with face-to-face lessons.

“It is absolutely a challenge, because this is a personal disruption, too,” Furuness says. “But I think this gives us a good opportunity to show that the platform is less important than having a high-quality, flexible instructor. Even as we are modeling how to handle a crisis, we have the resources we need to help Butler students meet the same learning objectives we set back in January.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Levenshus home office
Student-Centered

Butler Faculty Put Students First in Switch to Online Learning

Coronavirus pandemic forces cancellation of in-person classes, but professors make the best of a difficult situation

Mar 19 2020 Read more

Curent Student Q&A | Tim Winter ’20

Tim Winter ’20
Majors: Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science
Hometown: Decorah, Iowa
Co-curricular activities: Butler Student Ambassador, Butler Symphony Orchestra, Engineering Dual Degree Club, Student Orientation Guide

Q: What’s your story?
A: I love to learn. When I’m not doing homework, my nose is in a book about airplanes and the science behind flight. One day, I hope to design the next generation of rockets that take us deeper into space. I’m also an avid cellist. I take lessons and play in the orchestra, and set aside time to play my cello every day.

Q: Why did you choose to become a Bulldog? 
A: This is a place where I can be serious about both my cello and engineering. My cello professor, Dr. Grubb, was the first person I ever met on campus. His kindness and passion really set the tone of my Butler visit.

Q: What do you like most about your academic career here? 
A: I like that I can double major. I chose Mechanical Engineering because I grew up on a farm fixing everything in my path. I chose Computer Science because my grandfather was a pioneer in the programming world with his software company.

Q: Which faculty member has inspired you the most? 
A: My Introductory Physics Instructor, Dr. Dan Kosik. His class pushed me to my limits and helped me grow as a student. I could walk into Dr. Kosik’s office whenever I had questions—even if they didn’t pertain to what we were doing in class.

Curent Student Q&A | McKenzie Greene ’22

McKenzie Greene ’22
Major: Biochemistry 
Minor: Psychology and Spanish
Hometown: Strongsville, Ohio
Co-curricular activities: Butler Student Ambassador, Multicultural Mentor, Morton-Finney Scholar, Track & Field Athlete

Q: What’s your favorite spot on campus? 
A: When the weather is nice, I love to sit in my hammock on the Butler Mall. I can catch up with friends as they’re walking to class, join a game of Spikeball, or just relax and reflect on the day.

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: I definitely want to work in the healthcare field, specifically with children. I’m still deciding if this means I want to be a doctor, or something else. The great thing about Butler is that it provides so many resources—shadowing, career fairs, pre-health advisors, and more—to help you figure out what career might be the best fit.

Q: What’s your favorite activity at Butler? 
A: There are so many activities available on campus for students that it’s hard to pick a favorite. There is never a dull moment and all the activities pull in a wide range of people from all different walks of life. Some of my favorites though have been watching movies on the lawn, line dancing at the Reilly Room, Bingo Night, and of course, basketball games at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Q: What’s the social event of the year?
A: Homecoming is the place to be every year, no question! There is so much school spirit and unique things to do, like the Bulldog Beauty Contest. I look forward to it every year.

Meet Current Student Marcos Navarro Garcia ’23

Marcos Navarro Garcia ’23
Major: Critical Communication and Media Studies
Minors: Creative Media and Entertainment, Spanish
Hometown: Lafayette, Indiana
Co-curricular activities: Student Government Association, Latinos Unidos, Multicultural Student Mentor, Efroymson Diversity Center

 

At Butler, we have access to an incredible network of students and faculty, as well as endless opportunities to get involved both on campus and in the Indianapolis community. My time at Butler began at Dawg Days, a Pre-Welcome-Week orientation program led by the Efroymson Diversity Center. I met some of my closest friends in that program and we’ve had each other’s backs since day one. This year, I was able to serve as a mentor for the very same program, which was incredibly rewarding as I was able to welcome a new group of first-year students.

My involvement isn’t limited just to on-campus activities either. Butler really encourages its students to get out in the community, and I’ve definitely taken advantage of that. Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to other Latinx students at a few local high schools and elementary schools about my own personal experiences, including my time at college. Every single time, I walk out with my cup filled, knowing that the kids that I speak with can now see that successful people do look like them and come from a similar background.

When I graduate, I would love to take the skills I’ve learned as a student in the College of Communication and become a motivational speaker. I want to speak about the importance of self-love, passion, heart, and grit, and help empower future generations to fight for their dreams and what they believe in.

Curent Student Q&A | Maddy Jensen ’22

Maddy Jensen ’22
Majors: Sociology and Psychology
Minor: Youth and Community Development
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
Co-curricular activities: Butler Student Ambassador, Butler University Student Foundation, CRU, Radiate Bible Study Leader

Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a Bulldog? 
A: The community and passion that you find on this campus is really second to none. When you come here, you enter a unique family that would be hard to find elsewhere. At Butler, I feel seen, loved, known, and cared for.

Q: How do you get involved on campus? 
A: Definitely attend Block Party during Welcome Week! There are more than 130 student organizations and Block Party brings them all together during the first week of the fall semester. No matter where your interest or passion lies, there is a place for you to find your niche and your family at Butler.

Q: Which service-related activity have you found most satisfying?
A: Bulldogs Into The Streets is one activity that I make sure to attend every year. Students, faculty, community members, and families join together on a Saturday to complete service activities in Indianapolis. It’s a really special (and large!) event that embodies the service-oriented attitude you find at Butler.

Meet Current Student Karlye Sopczak ’22

Karlye Sopczak ’22
Major: Political Science and History
Hometown: Crown Point, Indiana
Co-curricular activities: Butler Student Ambassador, Butler University Dance Marathon, Greek Life, Pre-Law Society

 

The best thing about being a Butler Bulldog is being part of a community that truly cares about you, your success, and your happiness. Your professors are always willing to help talk through postgraduate plans every step along the way. I’m a Pre-Law student, and my faculty advisor has been an invaluable resource to me, helping me with everything from advising which classes to take to discussing various law school options. The guidance you receive and the independence you will gain at Butler is priceless.

Outside of academics, there is so much to do on campus. Butler does a great job of planning on-campus programming, providing a variety of lectures, shows, and performances that are free or very affordable. One of my favorite traditions is attending Butler Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker every year.

I’ve also become really involved with the Butler University Dance Marathon (BUDM), which is an organization that raises money for Riley Children’s Hospital. It has been the most rewarding experience to be part of a service organization that donates all of its proceeds to children’s health and pediatric research. It’s just a bonus that I’ve been able to meet so many other passionate, dedicated, and inspirational individuals through BUDM.

Meet Current Student Josiah Lax ’22

Josiah Lax ’22
Major: Dance Pedagogy
Hometown: Santa Monica, California
Co-Curricular Activities: Butler Ballet, Sigma Rho Delta Dance Fraternity, Movement Exchange

 

There are so many opportunities at Butler because of the community. Everyone is so welcoming and kind, and you’re able to make friends with so many people—those who share your passions as well as people who will teach you new things.

There are also no shortage of activities to keep you busy. As a Dance major, I have a really full schedule, just with my classes alone. A typical day starts with my academic courses in the morning and then my first dance class, which is either modern or jazz. Later, we have a group ballet class, then men’s allegro or pointe class, and then finally rehearsals for whatever show we’re currently working on.

I love every minute of dancing in the Lilly Hall studios and exercising in the Butler Ballet conditioning room. We even have access to our own physical therapists. Life as a dancer can be hard on the body, so it’s really amazing that Butler provides all of these resources for us.

Outside of dance, being a student at Butler provides so many unique experiences. Last year, I received a Fulbright Award and was able to study arts, activism, and social justice in Bristol, United Kingdom. I would never have known about this opportunity if not for the help of Dr. Dacia Charlesworth, Butler’s Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships.

I never expected to have the breadth of experiences that I’ve had as a Butler student. This community, and the opportunities you have as a result, are truly unique.

Curent Student Q&A | Jack Dicen ’23

Current Student Q & A with Jack Dicen ’23
Major: Exploratory Business
Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
Co-curricular activities: Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance, Dawg Pound, The Diversity Center, Men’s Club Basketball

Q: What’s your ideal Butler day look like? 
A: I usually wake up and do a little bit of homework or studying before my 10:00 AM class. I’ll always make time to grab lunch with my friends in between classes and catch up on everyone’s day. I’ll usually spend part of the afternoon in the Diversity Center and then end the day working out or playing basketball at the Health and Recreation Complex (HRC) on campus.

Q: What’s your favorite spot to work out on campus?
A: Definitely the HRC. It has a ton of options, so I never get bored. There’s a large variety of cardio equipment and weight machines, plus a swimming pool. And, my favorite part: basketball courts that are almost always available for a pick-up game.

Q: What’s your favorite spot on campus? 
A: My favorite spot is the Diversity Center. Everyone there is so welcoming and kind and accepts you for who you are with no judgment. A close second would be cheering on the Dawgs at Hinkle Fieldhouse. There’s just nothing that compares to watching a game in such a historic place.

Current Student Q&A | Brittany Bluthardt ’20

Brittany Bluthardt ’20
Majors: Journalism, Strategic Communication
Hometown: Antioch, Illinois
Co-curricular activities: Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society, Butler Honors Program, CHAARG, Greek Life, The Odyssey

Q: What’s your favorite spot on campus?
A: Holcomb Gardens, because of its beautiful scenery and proximity to the Indianapolis community. From the gardens, I can walk along nature paths, visit The Farm at Butler, travel to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, or spend time studying outside.

Q: What’s your favorite hidden-gem in Indianapolis?
A: A small marketplace called Locally Grown Gardens, which is pretty close to campus. Every time I walk through the doors, I’m excited to see what new produce they’ve received from the day before. And I get to see my little furry friend who greets every visitor with a “meow!”

Q: What’s your ideal day look like?
A: My best days are busy because I thrive under a little stress and excitement. I love starting my day with a quick blog post, going to class, fitting in a workout, and winding down by studying with my roommates. Each day is new and different, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

My Butler Story | Libbie Rammage

Libbie Rammage ‘21
College of Communication
Major: Strategic Communication, Web Design and Development
Hometown: Wataga, IL

Like any Midwestern child, Libbie Rammage grew up with the warning that it was curiosity that killed the cat. But how true that can be when curiosity is what has her well on the way to a career.

She grew up in a place called Wataga, which is in the part of Illinois more familiar with cornfields than it is with skyscrapers. With just 800 other residents in the town and only 40 other students in her graduating class, it’s no wonder she had dreams of living in a bigger city.

“That’s why Butler was a perfect choice. It was so close to downtown Indianapolis but didn’t have an overwhelming amount of students. It just felt right, even though I didn’t really know what I wanted to study yet,” she said.

Then, as is with many first-year Butler students, a key professor entered her life and pointed her to a passion she hadn’t yet discovered.

“My honors first-year seminar, Resistance and Revolution with Dr. Carter, changed the way I thought about life. I was introduced to so many new ideas and important lessons about the world we live in,” she said. “All I had known before was my small community. This class made me realize how large the world truly is, as well as how education and letting your voice be heard can make a positive impact.”

Then everything started to unfold. She switched over to the College of Communication and entrenched herself in honors courses. Learned about all the internship opportunities at non-for-profits and ad agencies all throughout Indianapolis. Joined the Public Relations Student Society of America, became a Butler Student Ambassador, and can now be found cheerleading on the sideline during home games.

It’s exactly what she could have hoped for back living in Wataga surrounded by a sea of corn. And even though she’s come so far, it still only feels like the beginning.

“I’m already getting exposure to a huge alumni network that could lead to any number of jobs. It’s exciting. Everything just keeps building on what I’ve already done,” she said. “If you want to feel like you have an active role in a community that’s also pushing you where you need to go, there’s no better place than Butler.”

What comes next, despite the uncertainty, drives Libbie forward.
 

Watch more My Butler Stories
 

Student-Centered

My Butler Story | Libbie Rammage

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but for Libbie, curiousity set her well on the way to a career. 

My Butler Story | Kylie Mason

Kylie Mason ‘19
College of Education
Major: Elementary Education

Butler University almost didn’t work out for Kylie Mason.

On paper, it was almost too perfect: her sisters studied here, the campus was only a few hours away from home in northern Indiana, and the College of Education (COE) came highly recommended.

“My first semester was filled with thoughts of transferring. I felt homesick despite all the reasons why I shouldn’t have,” she said. “But then the right professor came along and helped me realize that I was meant to be a teacher. And that I needed to change as a person, not the place where I was.”

It was the lightbulb moment that every student seeks when stepping onto campus. Kylie has been moving forward ever since.

Every semester, COE ensures its students interact with classrooms throughout the larger Indianapolis community. This immediate, consistent exposure to the reality of education is what Kylie attributes to the high caliber of the College’s curriculum.

“At other colleges, especially larger ones, undergraduates won’t spend time in actual classrooms until their third or fourth year. That’s crazy to me,” she said. “Students at Butler still feel overwhelmed at times, for sure. But the professors here are making sure we can manage it, rather than fear and avoid it.”

Now, in her final year, Kylie sees a College around her that is more equipped to prepare teachers for the future than ever before. This year, the College of Education moved away from its confined corner in Jordan Hall to the brand new South Campus. Formed following Butler’s purchase of 40 acres of land and buildings from the Christian Theological Seminary, COE now enjoys state-of-the-art facilities to explore new ways of delivering knowledge in the 21st-century.

“I wish we had this space all four years that I’ve been here,” she said. “I’ve always felt like the professors and students in COE were one big family, so it’s nice to finally have our own place to call home.”

Home. It’s still one of the most important things on her mind. It’s why she plans on returning to northern Indiana next year. But this time she’s moving toward her future rather than away from it. Kylie Mason is ready to teach.
 

Watch more My Butler Stories
 

Student-Centered

My Butler Story | Kylie Mason

Butler almost didn’t work out for Kylie Mason. But then, the right professor came along.

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