Senator Visits Fairfield for Roundtable Talk about Sexual Assault

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Senator Visits Fairfield for Roundtable Talk about Sexual Assault

On Friday, March 7, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) hosted a roundtable discussion about sexual assault on college campuses with advocates from Fairfield University, the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. (CONNSACS), U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), and approximately 90 attendees including students, staff and faculty.

This roundtable discussion followed the recent release of the White House Council on Women and Girls’ report that found that nearly one in five women (22 million) and one in 71 men (1.6 million) have been victims of sexual assault.

This event was part of a series of roundtable discussions Senator Blumenthal has hosted on this issue at college campuses throughout the state, and is central to an effort to learn about campus climates, attitudes, and cultures. The effort follows President Obama’s announcement about forming a task force on this important issue. The hope is that by listening to survivors of sexual assault, and those trying to help them, that laws on the federal and state levels will be strengthened.

Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., president of Fairfield University opened the discussion stating, “This is a matter of pressing importance to all universities. It is particularly important to us here at Fairfield, where we prioritize issues of social justice and care for the well being, development, and safety of others.”

Attendees included students from Fairfield University and other universities and colleges in Connecticut. Also on hand were Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau, Town of Fairfield Police Department members and other officials, plus Fairfield University faculty and staff members.

‌Dr. Thomas C. Pellegrino, Vice President for Student Affairs reflected on the discussion, “Our students gave the soundest advice on where we need to go and what we need to do.  I heard reporting, support for survivors, and paying attention to the needs of secondary victims all mentioned.”

He concluded, “In addition, we need to do – and we will do – what a Jesuit institution does best: educate with a real understanding of context, engage the challenging discussion, and accompany our students, particularly our male students, on a path that leads to a place of mutual care and support. We look forward to assisting with this endeavor and taking a leadership role in promoting change.”

Photo left: Dr. Thomas C. Pellegrino, Vice President for Student Affairs; U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)

Top photo: Dr. Thomas C. Pellegrino, Vice President for Student Affairs; U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.); Congressman Jim Himes (D-Conn.); and Laura Cordes, executive director of the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. (CONNSACS).

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