The University of New Mexico Division of Student Affairs and UNM Army, Air Force and Naval ROTC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) uniting efforts to combat sexual assault on campus and to advance LoboRESPECT CARE, (Compliance, Advocacy, Response, Education), a campaign aimed at refining how sexual assault cases are conducted on campus.

“The Army, based on our ongoing efforts to combat sexual assault in our own force, is committed to reducing, and eventually eliminating, sexual assault and sexual harassment," said UNM Army ROTC Lt. Col. Kenneth T. Crawford. "Based on our current efforts within the Army and the President of the United States’ initiative to combat sexual assault across US college campuses, the Army felt that having our ROTC programs engage their host university to create a partnership would be mutually beneficial.”

Crawford added that the Army's goal is to facilitate a cultural change that will result in a positive climate where behaviors and attitudes that lead to sexual offenses are rare and victims feel free to report without fear of reprisal. “As part of our goal to change the culture, the Army understands that you must first acknowledge the current status before you can implement a vision and plan for the future,” he said.

A recent Department of Defense report found that, based on an externally administered survey, there was an overall decrease in sexual violence in the Army over the past three years. The same report also showed that there was an increase in reporting assaults over the same time period. 

UNM Dean of Students Tomás Aguirre; UNM Vice President for Student Affairs, Cheo Torres; Lt. Colonel Fred E. Garcia, Air Force ROTC and Captain Michael Riley, Naval ROTC.

"In an effort to extend the Air Force’s policy that no form of sexual assault will be tolerated, AFROTC Det 510 is pleased to partner with UNM to educate our students on sexual assault prevention in an effort to keep them safe from such horrible crimes," said Lt. Col. Fred E. Garcia II, USAF. "Our active duty cadre is a very small subset of the Air Force, but our Cadet Wing includes students from nearly every area of UNM. We need to ensure their safety and provide guidance to resources if necessary. This partnership with UNM is a great step toward that goal.”

“The Department of the Navy has a strong and effective Sexual Assault Prevention/Response program," said Capt. Michael B. Riley, USN, and Commanding Officer of UNM NROTC, "The Navy and the Marine Corps are committed to ensuring that all members are able to execute their right to serve in a safe environment that fosters teamwork and mutual respect. The Department’s efforts are focused primarily on that segment of our population that is most at risk: our Sailors and Marines in the 17-27 year-old age group." 

Riley added, "By working closely with our University partners, NROTC can bring the best practices from the Fleet into the Lobo Respect program, while simultaneously learning from the highly experienced and dedicated professionals at UNM, who’ve created Lobo Respect. With this type of collaborative effort, EVERYONE wins. Our program is more effective, our students and Midshipmen are safer, and our defenses against sexual violence are stronger.”    

For more information, visit LoboRESPECT.