Minnesota's Office of Higher Education has hired a new coordinator to help colleges and universities prevent sexual assault.
Melissa Kwon, who previously worked in sexual violence prevention for the state health department, was named to the new position of "Campus Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator," Commissioner Larry Pogemiller announced Thursday.
Her job will be to assist colleges, especially small ones, as part of a statewide effort to combat sexual assault on campus.
A 2015 state law imposed new requirements on Minnesota colleges to report sexual assaults and to expand prevention efforts, including training for students and staff. But some small campuses raised concerns that they didn't have the resources to comply with all the requirements, according to Sandy Connolly, a spokeswoman for the higher education office.
Kwon said she will serve as a resource for those and other campuses. As a first step, she plans to hold a series of "regional listening sessions" this spring at Minnesota colleges and universities about their prevention efforts.
Kwon, who has a Ph.D. from the University of California, has developed and taught programs around sexual violence prevention.
"While it is critically important that colleges know how to respond to sexual violence, my top priority is prevention," she said. "I would like nothing better than to work myself out of a job."