News & Events

Mars Hill Panel Leads Workshop on Preventing Sexual Assaults

Cj Conference Panel
(l-r) Dr. Barbara Sims, Dr. Liz Anderson, Joyce Cody, Bob Kandra

On Thursday, September 1, 2016, two Mars Hill University faculty members, one former MHU professor, and the head of a Madison County domestic violence prevention agency presented at the 2016 National Sexual Assault Conference in Washington, DC. The title of the workshop was, “Moving Beyond 'The Hunting Ground' to a Multidisciplinary Team Approach for Sexual Assault on College Campuses.” Presenters were Dr. Barbara Sims, professor and chair of the MHU criminal justice department; Bob Kandra, an adjunct instructor of criminal justice; Dr. Liz Anderson, an assistant professor of social work at Western Carolina University (formerly of MHU); and Joyce Cody, executive director of My Sister’s Place.

With about 70 attendees present from around the U.S., issues related to campus-related sexual assault were presented and discussed. “Given the fact that one in five students will become a victim of sexual assault during their campus experience, these issues are important to discuss in an open forum,” said Dr. Sims.

Issues covered included:

  1. brain trauma associated with sexual assault victimization;
  2. the need for empowering the victim when it comes to her/his decision to report an assault;
  3. best practices associated with preventing and responding to sexual assault within the campus environment;
  4. appropriate sexual assault training for local law enforcement officers; and,
  5. the crucial role of victim services providers from the community.

These issues were grounded in a common theme: How do institutions of higher learning, situated in a primarily rural area, garner necessary resources sufficient to prevent and respond to campus-related sexual assault? Cody from My Sister’s Place said, “Through the years, My Sister’s Place has served victims of sexual assault from Mars Hill University. Over time, we have developed a positive working relationship with campus security and local law enforcement.”

For more information about MHU's criminal justice program, contact Dr. Barbara Sims at (828) 689-1276 or by email.