MSU experts tapped to help provide resources for sexual assault survivors

Two Michigan State University experts have been appointed to serve on First Lady Sue Snyder’s 15-member statewide Campus Sexual Assault Workgroup. The group is charged with developing resources for sexual assault survivors that will be available this fall to all Michigan campuses and their community partners.

The MSU appointees are Tana Fedewa, a trauma therapist who oversees the university’s Sexual Assault Program, and Detective Lt. Andrea Munford, a member of the MSU Police Department’s Special Victims Unit whose work focuses on campus sexual assault.

The workgroup’s first task is to develop a survivor toolkit to be unveiled and distributed at the First Lady’s third annual “Inform. Empower. Prevent.” summit on Sept. 25.

“Ensuring that all assault survivors have access to resources that will help in their journey toward healing is essential in our work to address campus sexual assault in Michigan,” Snyder said in announcing the appointees. “I thank each of these dedicated individuals who are lending their expertise to help develop and distribute these vital resources to those who need them most.”

Fedewa serves as coordinator of MSU’s Sexual Assault Program. She oversees a team of five therapists, a crisis counselor, an advocate, a volunteer coordinator and approximately 100 volunteers who work with sexual assault survivors at MSU and in the Lansing community.

“I am honored to have been selected to represent the victim advocate community on the workgroup, and thank the First Lady for her leadership in making campus sexual assault a priority for our state,” Fedewa said. “Our first charge, to develop a common survivor toolkit, will fill an important need for survivors and the professionals who dedicate themselves to supporting them. By creating this toolkit we will be ensuring that survivors across the state will have access to resources that will help them to make informed decisions, understand their rights and feel supported and believed.”

Munford has served in the MSU Special Victims Unit since it was formed in 2014 as one of the first such units in the country. In addition to investigating reported crimes and bringing perpetrators to justice, her unit works hand-in-hand with the university’s Sexual Assault Program, the Office of Institutional Equity, MSU Safe Place and other campus programs to  create comfortable spaces for survivors to discuss their next steps and provide needed support.

“I am proud to represent the law enforcement community on the workgroup,” Munford said. “This workgroup represents an important step forward in addressing the problem of campus sexual assault collaboratively. We can make much more headway when we work together across the state and across disciplines to ensure our campuses are safe for all of our students.”

Snyder announced her intention to form the workgroup this spring and charged the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board with identifying experts to serve on it. The full list of appointees is here: http://www.michigan.gov/snyder/0,4668,7-277-57577_57657-423777--,00.html

“This is another step forward as we continue our work to make Michigan a model state in addressing sexual assault on college and university campuses,” Snyder said in announcing formation of the workgroup.

The Sept. 25 “Inform. Empower. Prevent.” summit will be hosted at Eastern Michigan University with the goal of making Michigan a model state in the fight against sexual assault among the college-age population. The summit is part of an ongoing campaign to inform communities, empower individuals and ultimately bring an end to campus sexual assault.

More information about the First Lady’s initiative to end campus sexual assault in Michigan is available here: www.endcampussexualassault.com.