USD holds forum to discuss sexual assault

Vermillion, S.D. - Monday night the University of South Dakota held a forum to discuss a recent sexual assault involving two of its football athletes. Danny Rambo junior is charged with rape. Dale Williamson junior is charged with attempted rape. Both are out of jail, on bond. They are accused of entering the bedroom and assaulting the woman while she was having consensual sex with another man. This forum is something many students KSFY spoke with said they feel was needed. They said while there is some sexual assault training they believe there needs to be a greater focus on it. Especially after the most recent alleged sexual assault.

“I think the university reacted in a great way,” Law student Alexa Moeller said. “Hearing the students and their concerns because the law school wasn't the only place where students were saying things. Like someone needs to fix this or there was a person left out. We were just a group of people that decided to react formally in a letter to the Volante. I hope that people learn more about sexual assault, but there are complicated narratives in each situation and that the defendants and allegedly accused individuals in this situation have rights, but the victim also has rights as well,”

University officials requested that no cameras be allowed into the forum to respect individuals wanting to come forward and discuss. University officials reiterated that it has a zero tolerance policy for sexual assault. At the beginning of the forum officials stated that they wouldn't discuss specific incidents that have happened in the past. Questions focused on the online training individuals are supposed to complete but are not required to. Students also focused questions on the victims and how they are being protected and supported by the university.

University officials said they believe Monday night’s forum was a positive step in the discussion on sexual assault and said the forum let's people know what is being done by officials behind the scenes.

“I hope they have a good understanding that really we are all on the same page. We want this to be a safe environment for all of our students and they have a little bit of an idea of how we all work with our policies and how we're all working towards a lot more training in the future,” Vice President Dean of Students, Kim Grieve said.

“I think this is a good first step. It let people really explain their concerns, ask questions. I definitely think we need to go further then this,” University of South Dakota sophomore, Krista Honomichl said.

Officials said moving forward one of the things they are introducing is a bystander intervention training program as well as improving that online training. University officials said they hope to continue the discussion of sexual assault and hope to continue to getting student input.