KU Student Senate, greek groups create fund for sexual assault victims

The University of Kansas now has a pot of money to help sexual assault victims with related expenses.

Outgoing student body president Stephonn Alcorn and vice president Gabby Naylor recently announced the creation of the University of Kansas Sexual Violence Survivor Fund for students who have experienced or are experiencing a form of interpersonal violence.

There’s an initial investment in the fund of $8,000, they said in the announcement. The money came from the Student Senate Opportunity Fund ($4,000), the KU Interfraternity Council ($2,000) and the KU Panhellenic Association ($2,000).

Alcorn and Naylor said the three organizations hope to sustain the fund in the future through additional “campus partners at KU such as the Multicultural Greek Council, the National Panhellenic Council and Kansas Athletics Incorporated.”

The fund will be administered by the Watkins Health Services CARE (Campus Assistance, Resource and Education) Coordinator, currently Merrill Evans. The CARE Coordinator, a confidential reporter, supports victims and alleged perpetrators of sexual assault, sexual battery, dating violence and stalking, according to Watkins.

Examples of expenses the fund is envisioned to help with: bed linens, safety needs (such as changing locks or getting an alternate cellphone), related medical costs, one-time assistance with rent or housing accommodations during breaks, according to Student Senate.

“Existing community resources in Lawrence and Douglas County are limited, often rely on donations, and require a strenuous process for survivors,” Naylor said, in the Student Senate news release. “By creating this fund, students will now have more autonomy when choosing to seek these resources. By coming together, we can make an institutional effort to support all students, regardless of associated organizations.”

According to Michelle Tevis of KU Endowment, donations to the fund may be made online at kuendowment.org/makeagift by specifying the fund name in the “My gift will benefit” field.

• I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.