University of Arkansas implements program that allows students to anonymously report sexual assaults

KNWA

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — University of Arkansas students now have a new resource that could help prevent sexual assaults.

Callisto is a website that allows students to make a time-stamped report of a sexual assault which they can then use in possible submissions to authorities. Victims who identify the same perpetrator can be notified and receive helpful information on how to proceed.

The program was implemented after administrators agreed to fulfill five demands put forward by former student Gillian Gullett, who said she survived a 2017 rape. The university created controversy when it agreed to pay her alleged abuser $20,000 in a settlement, prompting the drafting of a petition letter which called for the changes.

Gullett said she was pleased the UofA followed through.

I’m really relieved and excited to see the University finally make it happen and honor its promise. I don’t think it would have happened without continuous pushes from student leaders and alumni (Coleman Warren and Julia Nall) and the recent stories in [a student newspaper] the Traveler.”

Gillian Gullett, former UA student

Julia Nall is the former student body president, and she signed the letter. She said more needs to be done, but Thursday marked a sign of progress.

“I’m thrilled,” Nall said. “I think it’s a really important app. I also think it’s important for them to uphold that part of the agreement just to build trust with the student body.”

University spokesperson Mark Rushing said students get all the credit for making this happen.

“The university’s been supportive of those efforts to implement Callisto,” Rushing said. “It’s important to remember the information that’s reported on Callisto doesn’t go directly to the university. That’s a part of what makes the app different.”

Rushing said the Title IX office added additional staff, and administrators continue to seek ways to grow.

“[Callisto] serves a complementary role that the university provides to help prevent sexual assault and report sexual assault,” Rushing said.

Nall said the issue won’t be fixed with this single implementation, but it’s a start.

“Sexual assault on college campuses is multifaceted, really complicated,” Nall said.

Nall said she’s happy to know victims have an additional resource that could ultimately prevent future assaults.

“There’s a lot of moving parts, but as long as it stays a priority for upper admin, I think I’m very hopeful,” Nall said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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