Office of Attorney General conducting roundtable discussion at SRU

Pennsylvania state flag graphic

Nov. 6, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Representatives from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General are traveling the state to discuss campus safety initiatives and Slippery Rock University has been selected as one of four institutions to host a meeting.

Six speakers from government and service agencies will present topics about drug addiction, alcohol abuse, mental health awareness and sexual assault prevention from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Nov. 9 at the Smith Student Center Theater.

"These are some of the most challenging issues facing college students today," said Holly McCoy, assistant vice president for diversity and compliance and the University's Title IX coordinator. "It's wonderful that the attorney general's office has recognized this and is bringing people from colleges and universities together who deal with these issues every day to further help us find solutions for our students."

Holly McCoy
McCOY

In addition to SRU, the AG's office is conducting similar roundtable discussions at the University of Pittsburgh, Lincoln University and Drexel University. McCoy is expecting 60 attendees at SRU's event, which will include presentations followed by discussions with faculty, staff, students, community members and advocates from groups such as law enforcement, health professions and social service agencies.

Although Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro will not attend, he launched the initiative in August and will address the group through a video welcome.

"All across Pennsylvania, parents are taking their kids to college," Shapiro said in a released statement when the roundtable discussions were first announced. "When they drive away from campus, of course they should be sad to leave them, but they shouldn't be worried for their safety. I'm a dad to four young kids, and as attorney general I'll be working all year to make concrete improvements to campus safety across our commonwealth."

According to statistics provided by the AG's office, 862 Pennsylvanians between the ages of 15-24 died from drug overdoses in 2016; 1,700 college students die each year from alcohol-related injuries; and 1 in 5 young adults experience a mental health condition. Students of college age are at higher risk for sexual violence than other age groups.

"College students are vulnerable in many ways," McCoy said. "They are out on their own for the first time facing these issues and they may feel like they are alone.

The roundtables are intended to identify strategies and promote responses that are survivor-centered and trauma-informed.

"All of these issues are connected -- drug and alcohol abuse, mental health and sexual assault," Shapiro said. "To address one problem, we have to address them all as one community. We want to reduce the stigma for victims and survivors: it's not your fault, and we're here to support you and get the help you need."

Once the roundtable events are concluded, the Office of Attorney General will compile and assess the ideas discussed and distribute the results to participants. The goal is to identify best practices and promote them throughout the coming school year across Pennsylvania.

For more information regarding the roundtable discussion at SRU, contact McCoy at: 724.738.2650 or holly.mccoy@sru.edu.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 | justin.zackal@sru.edu