Student-led Green Dot petition hopes to make a change

Adriona Murphy

Four weeks ago, three Kent State students started a petition that would require first-year students to attend a Green Dot training session.

Green Dot was started in fall 2014 as a way to approach the prevention of power-based sexual assault and focuses on bystander action, according to the university’s Sexual and Relationship Support Services website.

Haley Kashi, a senior communication studies major and creator of the petition, said the whole idea came out of a class project.

“We were assigned a broad term saying we had to start a campaign, and we chose Green Dot,” Kashi said. “We’re hoping that if our campaign is successful enough … it will make a change on campus.”

Elizabeth Garlinger, a senior communication studies major and another creator of the petition, said she felt it was natural for students to experience a first-year course that addresses Green Dot. She hopes that by incorporating the programming, it will give students the tools to protect themselves.

“Green Dot is wonderful because it’s not empowering just on the side of the victims themselves, but also the victim’s friends as well,” Garlinger said. “I know plenty of people who say ‘yeah, my friend does X,Y and Z, and I just kind of stand there … I’m uncomfortable with it, but I don’t know how to address them.’ So having this gives them the power and the tools to address their friends.”

The petition says: “As a collective student body, we agree that the First-Year Experience Course should require that First-Year students attend a 60-90 minute Green Dot training session. We acknowledge that sexual assault and power-based violence dramatically impacts and traumatizes the lives of our peers. It is our believe that by exposing First-Year students to Green Dot, our campus can be more proactive in establishing reduction in power-based violence and would create a strong campus culture of bystander engagement.”

Alicia Rapini, a senior environmental conservation biology major, said she hadn’t heard of the petition, but is glad someone started it.

“I think it’s important for freshman to know that it’s something they need to stand up for and be proactive about,” Rapini said.

As of Nov. 9, the campaign has 57 signatures.

Adriona Murphy is the education, health and human services reporter, contact her at [email protected].