Fund Survivor Services at UW-Madison

Fund Survivor Services at UW-Madison

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PAVE-UW started this petition to UW-Madison

Since its inception, UHS Survivor Services has been historically underfunded and understaffed. Other Big Ten Universities have invested significant institutional time and resources to the improvement of survivor services in recent years, but UW-Madison is falling behind. 

Everyone knows about the long waitlists for mental health services. Too many students have been told to look elsewhere for immediate support. Students and survivors deserve to be supported, and month-long waitlists and appointment-only services are barriers to them getting that support. This is unacceptable, and UW-Madison must act on the results of the American Association of Universities (AAU) survey administered in 2015 and 2019, which showcases sexual assault and violence on campus. Let's look at the surveys by the numbers. 

  • 1 in 4 UW-Madison women will experience some form of unwanted sexual contact during their time at UW-Madison. 
  • In between surveys conducted by the AAU, there have been no significant improvements in lowering the rate of sexual violence on campus or significant improvement in prevention initiatives. 
  • In the 2019- 2020 school year, the university’s Title IX office (now titled the Office of Sexual Misconduct Resource and Response Program) received 324 formal reports (this does not count the thousands of unreported cases that we know exist on our campus).
  • Transgender, genderqueer, and non-binary (TGQN) students, both graduate and undergraduate, experienced sexual assault at a rate of approximately 28% with no improvements between the 2015 and 2019 AAU surveys.
  • BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) students, students with disabilities, and students who identify as LGBTQIA2S+ are disproportionately impacted by sexual violence both on this campus and in our society.
  • Only 43.1% of students were aware of UHS Survivor Services and 43.5% of students were aware of Title IX as a reporting office. How would these numbers change if more students were aware of the services they are entitled to as students?

There is 1 survivor advocate (the position is not even funded through the University but through a two-year OVC grant) and a small team of mental health professionals serving over 40,000 students. Appointments fill up in the early months of each semester, and thus UHS cannot properly support the needs of survivors and their support people. 

With more funding, Survivor Services could:

  • expand its hours of availability (because we know violence doesn’t just occur during business hours) and increase crisis support services 
  • expand their office hours and drop-in availability to places across campus to meet students where they are at — in residence halls, cafeterias, Langdon, multicultural learning spaces at the Red Gym, the Nick, Memorial Union, and MORE. 
  • Increased funding would decrease wait times for mental health appointments and, most importantly, help survivors heal. 

Survivors deserve timely access to advocacy, mental health, and medical services through UHS. How can Survivor Services support students if it’s not adequately funded and students spend weeks, if not months, waiting for an appointment when they need immediate support? It is past time that UW-Madison allocates more funds to support survivors on our campus. Without actively participating in violence prevention and adequately giving money to campus resources, UW-Madison is perpetuating violence on our campus. UW-Madison, you need to do better. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!