Ed.’s note (Oct. 21, 2016): This article has been retracted. See why.
During Tuesday night’s Student Assembly senate meeting, SA Vice President Hannah McKiernan ’17 announced that the Riverside Regional Hospital in Williamsburg now had a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) on staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
These nurses are certified to administer forensic examinations and give special services to survivors of sexual assault.
This announcement follows a push of student groups like SA, Health Outreach Peer Educators, 16(IX)3 and Haven volunteers. Additionally, SA representatives to the Board of Visitors J.C. LaRiviere ’17 and Rachel Smith ’17 presented the priorities of students in regards to sexual assault to the BOV last week.
According to SA Secretary for Public Affairs Jakob Stalnaker ’16 J.D. ’19, this change came from the work of SA in conjunction with City of Williamsburg Mayor Paul Freiling ’83 and other City officials.
Stalnaker, McKiernan and SA President Eboni Brown ’17 worked with these officials and administrators at the College of William and Mary.
This is something that Eboni and Hannah mentioned when they were running last spring and we sat down with Mayor Paul Freiling that this was a priority and something that we really wanted to make sure got done,” Stalnaker said.
“I have several friends who have daughters away at college,” Freiling said in a written response. “My older daughter will go to college next year. A parent’s worst fear is that call that might come in the middle of the night. Unthinkable is the prospect that help might not readily be available.”
As of Sept. 27, City Manager Marvin Collins said that there will now be SANE forensic services provided constantly at the Williamsburg hospital. Additionally, Fire Chief Pat Dent established protocols to transport patients in need of forensic nursing services to Riverside. The William and Mary Police Department will still transport students to the hospital as well.
Prior to this announcement, students seeking Physical Evidence Recovery Kits (PERKs) or the services of a SANE nurse had the option of traveling directly to the Newport News location of the Riverside Hospital or to receive services from a Riverside Hospital mobile units of SANE nurses based in Newport News.
A SANE nurse cannot be employed at the Student Health Center under its current setup because of state requirements that require SANE nurses to work so many hours a week and treat so many patients. Because the Health Center is not open 24/7, the College has not been able to hire a SANE nurse for that location.
“After we talked to Mayor Freiling he wanted some information, some numbers about this issue,” Brown said. “We met with Michael Fox, who works with President Reveley, to get things done and working with them through the proper channels was successful. I’m really happy with the product of having a SANE nurse no longer as a mobile u nit but as a full time nurse when students need them. I think it was a collaboration with not only the administration, or with the City of Williamsburg, but with groups on campus that a lot of people have wanted and a lot of people have asked for.”
While it is not clear whether this decision required the allocation of funding, Brown and McKiernan believe that this decision was made without funding, as the nurse employed at the Williamsburg location of Riverside comes from the Newport News branch.
A lot of times student groups get discouraged because we want to act so quickly because we see such urgency, but administration and bureaucracy doesn’t always move as quickly as we want them to,” McKiernan said.
“A lot of times student groups get discouraged because we want to act so quickly because we see such urgency, but administration and bureaucracy doesn’t always move as quickly as we want them to,” McKiernan said. “This was a great example of the government being responsive to the needs of students. It is something that is important on campus and to the City as a whole.”