By Makea Luzader
For The Diamondback
University of Maryland students had the opportunity Tuesday to learn more about resources for international or undocumented students who are victims of sexual assault during a presentation from representatives of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
Alexandra Hoskins, a staff attorney for the coalition, and Alanna DeLeon, a fellow representative of the coalition and alumna of this university, both addressed issues regarding race and representation during the event, titled "Sexual Assault & Vulnerable Populations: International and Undocumented Students," which was hosted by this university's Office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy.
"Students who are undocumented, students who are international students at this school have a whole level of other barriers and obstacles that they have to face," DeLeon said during the presentation.
The event addressed topics such as obstacles undocumented and international students may face when reporting sexual assault, as well as on-campus resources for sexual assault victims. Hoskins and DeLeon also discussed policies of confidentiality and Title IX.
"Students who are not U.S. citizens may be undocumented, international students studying here on visas, or even students who are U.S. citizens but who have family members who are undocumented, have additional concerns about reporting or even seeking confidential services," Catherine Carroll, the director of the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct, wrote in an email.
Representatives from different campus resource groups such as CARE to Stop Violence, OCRSM, Undocumented Student Resources and MICA were present at the presentation. These representatives provided more information about this university's resources.
"We should kind of address here today to figure out what we can do as professionals at this school to make sure that students are coming forward and feel comfortable," DeLeon said during the presentation.
Various representatives from these campus resource groups also asked Hoskins and DeLeon how campus resources could improve regarding their availability and accessibility to underrepresented survivors of sexual assault.
"We wanted to introduce students to some community and campus resources that they can access for safe services and support," Carroll wrote. "[And] help familiarize faculty and staff members to these issues and concerns, and provide them with some good practices for supporting students."
Sydney Sanzone, a senior criminology and criminal justice and psychology major, said she was surprised by how many off-campus resources were available in the neighboring communities, as well as at this university.
"I also learned that we don't have answers for all of the questions, either," Sanzone said.
Vivian Mendoza, a senior management and marketing major, agreed, adding that she attended the event because of the topic's importance, as well as having family and friends who are immigrants.
"There are a lot more resources than I thought there was," Mendoza said. "It was very educational in that sense."