Students As Allies, University of South Dakota, in collaboration with the South Dakota Department of Health, Vermillion, SD


Contact Name: Linda Ahrendt, Grace Mims
Phone Number: (605) 538-8278
E-mail: gmims@usd.edu
Key Words: (1) Mixed gender and male only; (2) college age; (3) primarily white population; (4) university setting; (5) one-time workshop; (6) 1- to 3-hour intervention
Population served
Program participants are male and female college students. They also provide single-gender, male-focused activities to fraternities and male athletic teams, as well as female-focused activities to sororities and female athletic teams.
Approximately 50 new or ongoing participants receive exposure to program services each month, mostly through fraternities. The population served is primarily white. Participants are identified/recruited through a comprehensive network with the student affairs department.
Medium used to convey message
Groups begin by taking a 10-item, multiple-choice quiz related to statistics on acquaintance date rape. Staff members review the quizzes to see how the groups did, which in turn guides the discussion points. The group reviews a video clip depicting date rape and the reflections of the perpetrator and victim and how those differ. The students then discuss whether the incident was rape or not as well as what would have to change for it to be consensual sex. This discussion leads to a focus on consent. After the discussion, the group receives the South Dakota law concerning rape.
Goals, objectives, and desired outcomes
The program’s goals are to change the inappropriate attitudes and beliefs about sexual violence. Staff are trying to create a rape-free environment for students.
Theoretical/ scientific basis for the approach
The program is based on a theory of hostility toward women. It also emphasizes the harm that victims suffer and how that is the same as stranger rape. Staff are beginning to be interested in social norms theory. Focus groups were done last year to make an intervention specifically for the University of South Dakota population. Researchers developed a curriculum based on research and on other activities that were done at other universities. They also used Department of Justice (DOJ) information about goals and objectives that should be addressed in men’s and women’s groups. Results from the focus groups were transcribed and analyzed for themes, which were incorporated in the manual. The manual/curriculum is titled “Allies in Sexual Assault Prevention.”
Level of evaluation
The program conducts intense pre- and post-tests with treatment and control groups. The post-test is done 4 weeks after the intervention. In the spring, staff will continue with more interventions but hope to analyze data, write a report, and begin to disseminate information.
The Department of Health and the South Dakota Network Against Domestic and Family Violence review the program’s activities and have been involved in planning. The program began conducting focus groups last year, and the years 2001, 2002, and 2003 have been reserved for curriculum intervention. The group has been administering interventions since September.
Staff capacity
The program has two administrators and two graduate assistantships (GA). The GAs conduct the workshops/classroom presentations for the student groups. Funding currently seems very stable. The South Dakota Department of Health is supportive and interested in continuing the grant.