- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 23 March 2016
- Written by DANIELLE SCHIPANI | NEWS EDITOR
Due to recent incidents at Monmouth University, there has been an ongoing discussion about the University’s policy on sexual misconduct and the definition of Title IX. According to annual public reports provided online by the University, there have been seven rapes and two acts of criminal sexual contact on campus from 2012-2014. Six of these incidents occurred in residential areas on campus.
According to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, “1 in 4 college women will be the victim of sexual assault during her academic career. Survivors of rape or sexual assault are four times more likely to be victimized by someone they know than by a stranger...”
Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President of Student Life and Leadership, and Amy Arlequin, Deputy Tile IX Coordinator and Clery Compliance Officer, have provided information regarding the proper steps that are to be taken when the University is made aware of sexual misconduct. Below are these steps.
What happens once the University is made aware of an incident of sexual misconduct?
1. Once the University is made aware of an incident of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, the victim-survivor is made aware of his or her options:
•Police Report/ Criminal: Meeting with the MUPD if the incident took place on campus or with local law enforcement if the incident took place off campus
•Student Code of Conduct: Meeting with Judicial Affairs to discuss filing charges under the Student Code of Conduct
•Both the criminal process and the University Student Code of Conduct process
•Neither the criminal process or the University student Code of Conduct process
2. The victim-survivor is also informed that they decide how to move forward with any of the options and that he or she may change their mind and pursue a different course from their original selection.
3. The victim-survivor is given access to resources on campus which include MU Counseling and Psychological Services and Health Services, which are both confidential resources. Off-campus resources are offered as well including local law enforcement and 180 Turning Lives Around (Monmouth County Crisis Center)
4. If a victim-survivor chooses to proceed with the Student Code of Conduct process, all interviews are attended by two people, generally Student Life and Title IX Coordinator, but depending on schedules the attendees may vary. This is done to decrease the number of times anyone will have to be revictimized by sharing details of the incident.
5. The Title IX Coordinator makes a determination as to whether there is an ongoing threat.
6. Interim measures may be taken including issuance of no contact letters, a review and adjustment to class schedules and housing arrangements.
7. Clery report is completed and submitted to MUPD for incidents which are reportable under Clery based on location and the type of incident.
8. In sexual misconduct matters, victim-survivors and the accused are both entitled to have an advisor of choice join them for meetings and the hearing. Both may also participate in an appeal process after the hearing.
What can be done to prevent sexual misconduct from happening in the future?
“Sexual misconduct is a community problem, not an individual problem, and therefore we all share in the responsibility of creating a safer community,” said Arlequin. “The Office of Equity and Diversity has an open door policy and we welcome feedback from students as to how we may improve and expand our efforts in the area of sexual misconduct education, awareness, and programming. To better serve our campus community we strongly encourage student participation in any and all of our programing efforts as well as suggestions from students as to what forms of programming would be the most effective and far reaching within our campus community. The more opportunities we have to engage our students and the broader University community in educational programming, the better prepared we will be to prevent sexual misconduct.”
Many faculty members also pointed out that one of the best ways to reduce these numbers surrounding sexual assault and misconduct is to bring awareness to the issue.
Dr. Rekha Datta, a professor of political science and sociology, also offered insight on the ways to prevent this type of situation on campus. She explained that awareness to resources for these victims is key. “Perhaps we need to raise more awareness of the problem, and of the tools, policies, and administrative units that students can reach out to.”
Nagy discussed events that have been held in the past that were meant to discuss the issue of bringing awareness to this issue. She explained that in the fall of 2014 all students were invited to attend sexual assault awareness events.
Nagy also pointed out that the University has made the online educational program Haven: Understanding Sexual Assault available to students. The program is made to empower students to make well-informed decisions on and off campus. However she noted that there could be more participation from students.
In fall of 2015 there were both active and passive events to raise awareness of rape on college campuses. An active event included the showing of the film The Hunting Ground while a passive event putting out empty desk chairs throughout campus to represent students who have missed class due to rape or sexual assault.
Nagy said regarding the recent events and reports, “Hopefully a positive outcome of the situation is that it will help people talk about these issues and get people a little more engaged. It will also help us figure out how to best communicate this information in a way that resonates with the students where it’s relevant and speaks to you as a student.”