Students, staff learn about victim support

Faculty members of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Amy Nemmetz and Liz Kruse, gave a Stop the Hate seminar on victim support and advocacy on Friday Dec. 6 in the Markee Pioneer Student Center.

Nemmetz and Kruse educated the crowd of nearly 20 students on how to differentiate between bias incidents and hate crimes.

They defined bias incidents as acts of conduct, speech or expression with a bias motive present and hate crimes as crimes that have been committed against a protected group where a statute has been violated with hate as the motivation.

Victims may suffer from physical, emotional, or even financial injuries after a crime has been committed. There are three victim needs that are present after such violence acts occur: a need for safety, a need to be heard and a need to know, “what is next?”

“We like to think that we are a really inclusive campus and that we are a really ally supportive campus, but I don’t think we are there yet,” Nemmetz said. “I think too many times as faculty, staff and students we can clearly put our blinders on and just pretend it’s [hate crimes] not happening here or that everything is going to be okay. I really hope that we become more proactive rather than reactive.”

The main focus of this seminar was to help our students recognize how they can support victims of hate crimes and how they can become an ally to these victims, whether it be by willing to call the police or by standing up to peers when they think something is inappropriate.

“I thought the seminar was very educational,” junior business administration major Hannah Shuler said. “It gave us a lot of different ways to help people and encourage other people to do the helping.”

Shuler also stated that the seminar gave the audience the opportunity to hear about actual incidents that have happened to others, so it was very eye opening to see just how fast things can escalade and the different ways we can try and help these victims.

“It is so important to help people that are in a protected group or minority status on our campus so they can feel welcomed here. It’s their right to be here and feel safe and we owe everybody on our campus the opportunity to feel safe,” Nemmetz said.