Skip to main content

Program addresses violence on campus

October 6, 2009

UW-Madison is taking innovative new steps to end sexual assault, dating violence and stalking on campus.

A new initiative that launched earlier fall is designed to provide violence prevention education for all first-year and transfer students through an interactive online course proven effective in dramatically increasing student knowledge about these crimes.

The online program called Student Success is one of many efforts being implemented this year through UW–Madison’s End Violence On Campus (EVOC) project. Funded by a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, EVOC (pronounced “evoke”) brings campus and community partners together to end sexual assault, dating/domestic violence and stalking on campus.

October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“These crimes are preventable, and we hope to empower students to not only protect themselves but also intervene in potentially harmful situations,” says Carmen Hotvedt, violence prevention specialist at University Health Services and EVOC coordinator. “It takes students about an hour of time to learn what simple steps they can take to prevent a lifetime of pain.”

Student Success features survivor stories and college-aged students engaging in frank discussions about consent, respect, alcohol, and communication. Mid-way through, students receive gender-specific information, as well as LGBT-specific information, before learning how they can help a friend or a survivor and resources available to them on campus. Faculty and staff are also welcome to view the program through a separate logon.

Hotvedt is urging new and transfer students who have not yet logged on to do so by Monday, Nov. 2.

Research indicates that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 college women will experience a form of sexual contact without consent prior to graduation, overwhelmingly committed by an acquaintance or dating partner. Further, victimization data indicates that underclass students report higher rates of victimization than their upperclass peers.

“Learning and living on campus requires a safe and healthy student environment,” says Dean of Students Lori Berquam, who sent an sent an e-mail to all incoming UW–Madison first-year students urging them to participate.

“To help foster that environment, we are taking one of the country’s most proactive stances against sexual assault and dating violence,” she adds. “While some academic institutions try to keep the nationwide sexual assault problem hidden, we believe that an informed student body is a safer student body. Both women and men can take active roles in making this campus a safer place.”

EVOC operates in partnership with a wide variety of campus and community offices, including the Offices of the Dean of Students, University Police Department, the Center for the First-Year Experience and the Dane County Rape Crisis Center.

In addition, the project works to train law enforcement and judicial affairs officers, increase student access to victim service providers, and provide prevention education to students.

For more information about EVOC or the Student Success program, visit