Non-profit slams UM’s sex assault prevention program

By Emily Adamson
June 17, 2012

MISSOULA, Mont. – A national non-profit that advocates for people falsely accused of rape, slammed the University of Montana for its new program aimed at stopping sex assaults.

NBC Montana told you when the university launched ‘PETSA’ (Personal Empowerment Through Self Awareness), a seven video curriculum focused on sexual assaults. Students are required to watch them and then pass a test before they can register for classes next semester.

But the organization Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) wrote a letter to UM President Royce Engstrom among several claims in the letter, the group says the videos are misleading and encourage false reporting.

“The Personal Empowerment Through Self Awareness videos need to be altered,” said the state’s SAVE spokesperson Christopher J Thompson. “They’re very sexually biased and they’re lying to students in a sense.”

UM’s Interim VP for Integrated Communication Peggy Kuhr said Engstrom did receive the letter and that the PETSA committee is reviewing the accusations.

“The group of people who put together the tutorials did a lot of research ahead of time,” said Kuhr. “They were looking at what the standards are out there what the law is, what other universities have used for this kind of training, to really get the most relevant and accurate statistics possible.”

Kuhr added that more than 7,600 UM students have already completed the PETSA program. That’s close to half of the students enrolled in the school this semester.

Thompson said he has yet to receive a response from President Engstrom. Click here to read the letter from SAVE.