Sock hop to aid sexual assault team

By Michelle Landrum

An NIU residence hall committee is spreading the word and raising funds for NIU’s Sexual Assault Task Force by organizing a benefit dance scheduled later this week.

The Douglas Hall Programming and Activity Committee is organizing a sock hop to raise funds for the task force and its 24-hour Sexual Assault Response Team. The dance will be Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight in the Chick Evans Field House and will feature music by disc jockey King B. Ron Britton from Chicago radio station Magic 104. Admission to the sock hop is free.

Various DeKalb-area businesses have pledged to donate either a set amount per participant or a flat rate to benefit the task force.

The donations from the sock hop will be channeled back into the university through the task force service, Judy Skorek, task force member and University Resources for Women staff assistant, said.

She said some of the money will be spent on workshops and a peer program to be implemented in the fall that will involve trained students helping their peers, instead of relying solely on administrators.

Current funding for the task force through Student Affairs is “spread a little thin,” Skorek said.

The Douglas Hall PAC has already raised $1,500 from various organizations including the Office of Student Housing and the PanHellenic Council and is trying to raise another $1,000 by sending letters to local businesses and corporations.

Student involvement is viewed as a positive message that task force is “getting through to people,” Skorek said

“We’re very excited to have student groups involved,” she said.

The idea for the sock hop was the result of “committee brainstorming,” said Douglas Hall senior staff assistant Michelle DelPra.

“The real goal is to pull the campus together,” DelPra said.

Noting a division between residence hall members, Greek Row residents and other off-campus students, Kevin Reutter, Douglas Hall PAC member said that sexual assaults are an on-going concern of the entire university.

DelPra said, University Police Sgt. Kathy Guimond, who also serves as the UP SART coordinator, gave an informational presentation to the committee, and the PAC was impressed by the task force’s efforts.

“The task force is very grateful for the support,” Sgt. Guimond said. The task force will provide a sexual assault information booth at the event to raise student awareness of campus services.

The Douglas Hall PAC hopes the benefit will gain annual status and continue to help the task force.

Skorek said the task force is a committee of NIU staff and students which encompasses the SART. SART is composed of four offices including the University Health Service, the University Police, the Judicial Office and the Counseling and Student Development Center.