Ellgen shares support of Safe Transfer legislation

Kristin Kovalsky, News Reporter

Winona State University Student Senate president Ben Ellgen is planning to write to state legislators in support of the Safe Transfer legislation.

The proposed legislation requires that any student who violates campus sexual assault policies will have their crimes shown on their academic transcript.

“Currently there is no record or process of that, so if a student is transferring out, it just shows up on their transcript,” Ellgen said. “There is a similar statute in New York and Virginia, otherwise there’s no state laws anywhere else. In Minnesota, they are trying to introduce a bill that would replicate this and implement this system here.”

The legislation will hold students in violation of campus sexual assault policies accountable if they choose to transfer.

“It is a known thing that someone will get in trouble, typically male students, they will get in trouble, they’ll get suspended, there’s varying degrees of punishment,” Ellgen said. “They’ll get in trouble, and then they’ll just hop to a campus across the state.”

One in five students on college campuses are reportedly affected by gender-based violence.

Perpetrators of gender-based violence tend to commit these crimes more than once before any action is taken against them.

The idea to write the letter came from students at the University of Minnesota, who were seeking support for the legislation.

The letter will be written on behalf of student senate.

“I wanted to bring it to the senate as well because me as an individual writing a letter, that’s like ‘who cares.’ But now it’s a letter on behalf of the entire senate and in turn, the entire student body at Winona,” Ellgen said. “The whole purpose of this is not just fluffy words, it’s looking to address a significant problem that we know does occur.”

The letter will be sent to Minnesota state legislators.

“I’ll be sending it to the governor, representative Pelowski, and senator Miller,” Ellgen said. “We have the opportunity, whether it’s senate or just all of us as students, we have this ability to share our voice when it comes to anything. I’m really glad we’re exercising that for something this important.”

If the proposed legislation is passed, it is not a refusal of admissions if the student transfers.

“It’s not an automatic denial, again it’s up to whatever schools they’re transferring to,” Ellgen said. “It’s the admissions office decision, so then we’re not saying yes or no. We think it’s just important information to consider when admitting new students.”

Senate hopes that the legislation will pass, and in turn it will reduce gender-based violence and make college campuses safer.

 

The opinions expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of Winona State University, the Minnesota State Colleges and University system, or the Winona State University student body.