MARYLAND

Mandatory sexual assault class proposal at UMd. moves forward

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A proposal is gaining traction that would require all incoming freshmen at the University of Maryland to attend a sexual assault class.

Last week, a committee of the University's senate voted to move forward with the proposal, but there are still a number of bureaucratic hurdles it must go through before becoming a reality.

Statistics from the University's Department of Public Safety show that in both 2009 and 2010, 10 crimes classified as "forcible sex offense" were reported.

In 2011, the number fell to five.

But a federal study conducted several years ago concluded that around one in five college women are either victims of sexual assault or an attempted sexual assault, and many believe a lot of the crimes go unreported.

"It something that people just don't talk about," said University of Maryland senior Andrea Marcini, who among the group of students advocating to make the class mandatory. "And that's one of the biggest problems. How do you combat the prevalence when people just don't want to speak out?"

Right now, some Maryland students attend a sexual assault class, but many don't. The proposal would make a one-hour class required for all incoming freshman.

Some students ABC7 talked to think that is a good idea, especially to educate students about "gray areas" involving alcohol.

"There can be kind of blurred lines," said senior Nick Daly, who is a criminal justice major. "I think it would be good for people to understand that there's a definite point where you're crossing the line and you're doing something wrong."

Supporters of the measure are optimistic it will eventually pass and become the rule on campus.

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