Signal file photo Assistant Director of Student Wellness Larry Schallert discusses the effects sexual abuse and harassment have on one's mental health. The Institute of Ethics, Law and Public Policy held a panel on the topic Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at College of the Canyons. Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

COC discusses #MeToo, Sexual harassment and assault

With the #MeToo movement growing more prevalent in society by the day, the College of the Canyons’ Institute of Ethics, Law and Public Policy decided to host a panel discussion on the international movement currently occurring in the country. The topic of #MeToo, the international hashtag aimed at exposing sexual harassment and assault, attracted a wide-range of comments and questions from the students and faculty who attended the event. “There are no sidelines in the #MeToo issue,” Institute Director and moderator Kevin Anthony commented. “Either you find your voice and speak out or you are complicit and remain silent.” Professor Lisa Hooper noted the wide-ranging impact that sexual assault and harassment have in society today. She emphasized the change in attitudes and perceptions that the issue has brought about.. Professor Nicole Faudree provided an overview and history of the #MeToo movement, which spread virally in Oct. 2017 as a hashtag used on social media to help demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment. Alyssa Milano encouraged women to tweet about their experiences to show the world the severity of the problem. Since, the hashtag has included high-profile posts from several celebrities, and the Me Too movement was chosen as Time Person of Year in 2017. Attorney Brian Koegle provided perspective on the challenges employers face in protecting against sexual harassment claims and the legal consequences for businesses failing to understand the dimension of the issue. Assistant Vice-President of Human Resources Diane Fiero provided an overview of resources available to students who may be victims of harassment, while Larry Schallert outlined the resources available to students through the on-campus Mental Health Program. He said every student enrolled at the College of the Canyons has access to the Student Health and Wellness Center, which can provide the necessary resources needed to find help for those who need it.

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