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November 13, 2017 10:35 PM

USD Holds Town Hall On Sexual Assault

Vermillion, SD

Following charges against two University of South Dakota football players for rape and attempted rape, the university is drawing awareness to sexual assault through a town hall meeting.

KELOLAND News caught up with one senior on her way out of the meeting. Olivia Mann is currently double majoring in criminal justice and sociology, giving her extra insight into the violence of sexual assault. 

"In my time here at USD, I've seen a number of problems with the way the administration handles the issue of sexual assault, including mishandled cases that have influenced very close friends of mine," Mann said.

Deeply affecting their future here as a result, she says.

"To the point where I've had friends who feel like they can't even be at the university anymore," Mann said.

The town hall was co-sponsored by student government.

"This is an issue that students want more information on, kind of want some questions answered about, whether it's the process or how does USD handle things like this," Student Government Association Vice President Josh Anderson said.

Tena Haraldson, director of communications for the university, says the school requested cameras not be allowed inside the meeting. 

"We just don't want to discourage any participants from wanting to get up and talk about something that's intensely personal and private to them," she said. "We feel that camera coverage would discourage the conversation."

Mann herself asked two questions. However, she wasn't satisfied with what she heard inside Farber Hall.

"Frankly I wasn't," Mann said. "I feel like a lot of what the panel was promising is the same thing I've heard for four years, which is, we're working on it, were working on it, we're working on it." 

Tonight's panel included Athletic Director David Herbster, Dean of Students Kimberly Grieve, Haraldson, and Khara Iverson, the university's chief Title IX officer. Mann was critical of Iverson for how she reportedly portrayed victims. KELOLAND News will reach out to Iverson for her response.

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