ASU Police chief honored for sexual assault awareness

April 12, 2017

Michael Thompson has had quite the month. 

Not only did the Arizona State University police chief come up with the idea of having his officers wear teal-colored patches to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but he was recently named the inaugural Champion of Change by EVAW International. The group, which campaigns to end violence against women, created the new award to honor individuals who work to improve responses to victims of sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence. ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson wears the teal patch that officers are wearing throughout April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Police aides and support staff will wear other teal emblems, taking place in conjuction with other efforts to raise awareness about sexual assault and enhance support for survivors. Download Full Image

"Chief Thompson has led this department through a series of critical reforms to create a safe, victim-centered culture on ASU campuses," said ASU Police information officer Katy Harris. "We felt it was so important to let students, faculty, staff and the surrounding ASU communities know that we’re here to help."

Thompson has been helping the cause in all sorts of ways. 

The police department started its campaign in earnest in 2014, when ASU became the first university to declare its commitment to the Start by Believing cause. Not long after, Thompson led his agency in creating a Special Victims Unit, making ASU one of just four universities in the nation with an SVU dedicated to addressing sexual assault on campus. 

"It is not easy to identify the need for change and set about implementing reforms," wrote EVAW International in a press release. "Making progress is hard work, and it can feel like it is often two steps forward, one step back. Communities will always need leaders like Chief Thompson to keep us moving forward."

One of Thompson's most recent intiatives was the creation of his department's teal-colored patches, a first-of-its-kind effort. 

All ASU Police Department officers and aides are wearing the limited-edition patches throughout the month of April, taking place in conjuction with other efforts to raise awareness about sexual assault and enhance support for survivors. The innovative initiative is the first time the department has created a visible sign for its employees to wear. 

The patches are just one of the ways the department is showing their support this month.

According to Harris, officers, police aides and support staff are also wearing teal bracelets and lapel pins. In addition, squad cars on four of ASU's campuses are adorned with teal ribbon decals for the remainder of April. 

A limited number of the teal-colored patches are available at the ASU PD Tempe campus location for a $5 donation, the proceeds of which will be given to the Winged Hope Family Advocacy Foundation

Connor Pelton

Communications Writer, ASU Now

Dance films to screen during college film festival at Sun Studios of Arizona

April 12, 2017

Eighteen short dance films will be featured at the fourth annual Dance Shorts: College Film Festival this Friday, April 14 at Sun Studios of Arizona.

“The festival provides an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students all over the country to share their short dance films,” said Sharon McCaman, artistic director for the festival and a graduate student in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre in the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Katherine Dorn dance MFA in dance student Katherine Dorn’s short film will screen at the Dance Shorts: College Film Festival this Friday, April 14. Photo by Tim Trumble, courtesy of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Download Full Image

McCaman started the festival in 2013 as an undergraduate student in Florida.

“When I came to ASU to work on my master’s degree, I brought the festival with me,” she said. “Screendance work has the potential to be extremely collaborative, especially in an environment like the School of Film, Dance and Theatre.”

The festival spotlights dance films that are between two and six minutes in length. These films can be narrative, experimental or abstract and incorporate any combination of music, lights, costumes and location with dance and today's film technology. 

This year’s festival received 47 submissions from 29 different schools throughout the United States. All of the films were viewed and adjudicated by professionals within the dance and film community, according to McCaman. Films with the highest scores were selected for the festival gala screening. Twelve different schools will be represented at this year’s gala, including ASU.

“All the Things I was Told I Couldn’t Do,” a film created by third-year MFA in dance student Katherine Dorn, will be one of the featured shorts.

“Katie shot and edited her short dance film herself, and it features several ASU dance students,” McCaman said.

This year's festival gala will take place at 7 p.m. April 14 at Sun Studios of Arizona. The gala is free and open to the public. Register for the event online.

Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts