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College reps address sexual assault issue

Three members of the University community joined representatives of 14 other colleges to discuss the issue of sexual assault at Washington & Lee last weekend.

The conference, organized by W&L senior Matthew Loar and W&L counselor Dr. Jennifer Sayre, was intended to provide a forum for discussion about successful and unsuccessful experiences dealing with the issue of sexual assault on different campuses, according to Loar.

Chris Elliott, assistant dean of students from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and University students Andrew Tuttle, vice president of 1 in 4, and Amanda Penabad, co-chair of the Sexual Assault Leadership Council, gave a presentation about the design of sustainable and effective programs for fraternities and sororities.

Tuttle said the University representatives' presentation included information about a new interactive fraternity education program that was first implemented at the University last year.

"We wanted to share that with other peer education groups [and] receive their feedback so we can do better," Tuttle said.

Loar said events at the conference provided opportunities for attendees to work in peer groups and for students and administrators to work together.

The discussion allowed participants to learn more about how other schools deal with the issue of sexual assault, Penabad noted.

"It was nice to hear different perspectives of what's going on at different schools," Penabad said.

Elliott noted that the chance to communicate with members of other communities led to "some pretty rich dialogue about how administrators and students can both take some proactive steps."

Loar said he would like to see similar conferences regularly held in the future, as some participants expressed interest in meeting again to discuss their progress.

Elliott echoed this sentiment, noting that student peer groups have frequent leadership turnover and could benefit from the conversations produced at such conferences.