Barton Community College’s Sexual Misconduct & Assault Resources Team (SMART) will host expert campus safety speaker Katie Koestner, who will present three sessions at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2 at Barton Community College. The morning sessions will take place in the Fine Arts Auditorium with the evening session in the Barton Gymnasium. All are open to the public.
Koestner’s first session at 10:30 a.m. titled “Digital Citizenship” will cover privacy on the internet and how to address commentary that is demeaning, harassing or uncomfortable. Her second session at 11:30 a.m. is titled “Bystander Intervention.” Koestner will focus on the importance of speaking up in difficult situations. Attendees will also learn about the differences between harassment, flirting, jokes, as well as sexual assault, rape and abuse. Finally, at 7 p.m. Koestner will tell her inspiring story.
In 1990 Koestner went on a date which ended in horror as she found herself lying on her dorm room floor a victim of rape. As others around her disputed the idea that she was assaulted, Koestner decided to take a stand in the fight against sexual assault for herself and for others. Within a year Koestner found herself on the cover of “Time” magazine and being featured on national television programs.
In the next 25 years Koestner would go on to speak at more than 3,000 schools including West Point and Harvard, operate two non-profit organizations and co-author two books on sexual assault policy and procedures for schools.
Stephanie Joiner, Barton Community College’s interim Title IX Coordinator, is excited about this opportunity.
“She has a personal experience that she is willing to share and when you can find someone who is willing to open up that door it creates a better understanding,” Joiner said. “She is familiar with life on campus and what these students deal with, work with and use on a regular basis. Most importantly, she is passionate about it.”
Koesnter has also worked to keep her message current with the constant growth of technology in the digital age. Her first session will dive into this reality which Joiner sees as valuable not only for students but for the community.
“One of the topics that comes up when discussing social media with my students is the lack of education,” Joiner said. “The conversations that need to happen about digital citizenship are not happening in an educational manner but rather in simply ‘don’t dos.’ Students need to be educated and empowered to make the best possible decision.”
These sessions are for mature audiences due to the serious content discussed. Parents are encouraged to attend and to use their discretion if they would like their teenager to attend.
All sessions are open to the community including businesses and area high schools. For more information contact Stephanie Joiner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 620-792-9238.