AD+PR’s Work for Sister Survivors

Students and Faculty Stand With Sexual Assault Survivors and Continue Work to Change Campus Culture

By Anna Kuchiyash

Michigan State University continues to heal after an onslaught of campus sexual assaults, most of which were perpetrated by former physician Larry Nassar. Nassar was sentenced to prison in January of 2018. Since then, the Department of AD+PR students, faculty and staff have been working to not only support campus sister survivors, but continue to bring about positive change to the culture of the university.

In spring 2019, Ross Chowles, AD+PR professor of practice, was running an Idea-A-Thon. Every week, he brought three briefs for AD+PR students to work on. One of Chowles’ ideas for a campaign was what could he and the students do to help the sister survivors.

Chowles wanted AD+PR students to be a part of this campaign as much as possible, so it was open to any student who wanted to join.

“I wanted to let students be supportive of each other,” said Chowles. “Students will believe students, but not top corporation. They will believe each other.”

Currently, Chowles and his students are working on a campaign for the 2020-2021 school year expected to be launched in September 2020. The campaign targets all people with an emphasis on men. In efforts to help prevent sexual assault, it aims to point a finger at the friend that lets another friend commit sexual assault without stopping them or saying something. The campaign aims to say that friends don’t let friends do that. It targets bars, unwanted touching and behavior change, planting the idea that students should hold friends accountable.

The original AD+PR “Speak Up” campaign posters.

As part of the MSU Museum’s “Teal Talks” series this spring, Dr. Teresa Mastin, professor and AD+PR chairperson, gave a talk about the importance of having a guided conversation (sustained dialogue) on topics like sexual assault. After the talk, Mastin led the audience in a sustained dialogue.

“The way it helps sexual misconduct is it’s a mechanism for people to be listened to and others to be held accountable,” said Mastin. “The way you think has a lot to do with your experiences so the more you know yourself, the more you’re able to check yourself.”

If you would like to follow upcoming campaigns or get involved, email Chowles at chowlesr@msu.edu. To learn more about AD+PR’s original “Speak Up/Go Teal” campaign, visit http://thebrief.adv.msu.edu/october-2019/from-inspiration-to-impact-adpr-students-apply-classwork-to-make-a-difference-in-their-community/.