Through the collaboration of the Sexual Assault Working Group, Title IX administrators, the Office of the President and others, the university launched a website with information on sexual misconduct Feb. 21 after a six-month review of how Georgetown perceives and treats sexual misconduct on campus.

“I think this website is a huge improvement on the previous presentation. It clarifies who is the confidential resource and where to go to if you want to file a formal report with the university,” Sexual Assault Working Group Member Alyssa Peterson (COL ’14) said. “It also helps the university be in compliance with Title IX, which requires us to have a clause of non-retaliation and centralizes resources so survivors can look at it.”

The website, sexualassault.georgetown.edu, includes a revised policy on sexual misconduct and clearly states the steps students can take if they wish to report a sexual assault. The updated site is more centralized than before, offering easily accessible information about policies and resources. It also provides links to reporting, getting help for both survivors and the accused, Title IX at Georgetown, confidentiality, policy and procedure, D.C. law and getting involved.

“The real conversation started to take place when the university started recognizing that our policies and our methods of informing faculty and staff on reporting obligations in case of sexual assault were severely outdated and quite possibly out of compliance with Title IX,” Sexual Assault Working Group Member Trevor Tezel (SFS ’15) said. “While the process was in stages of development, I think student and administrators realized that something like this website needed to be included as soon as possible.”

The university’s initial steps involved appointing a Title IX coordinator and several deputy coordinators, including Associate Vice President Jeanne Lord, who serves as a deputy Title IX coordinator for undergraduate students and spearheaded the website’s creation. Title IX prohibits sexual harassment on the basis of disruption of ability to participate in school. Coordinators must investigate claims and provide education and training.

“We hope the website will create awareness of resources, offer students insight into the behavior that constitutes sexual misconduct that will not be tolerated and reassure members of our community that complaints of sexual misconduct will be taken seriously and promptly and fairly investigated,” Lord wrote in an email.

Peterson acknowledged the importance of providing resources to the accused.

“My thought is that, although the rate of false reporting is extremely low, it is important that complaints and respondents are accorded due process. There isn’t any reason why accused students shouldn’t be able to access university resources as long as they do not retaliate against or intimidate the complainant,” she said.

Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity and Title IX Coordinator Rosemary Kilkenny emphasized the importance of the website in fulfilling Title IX requirements.

Recently, sexual assault and sexual misconduct have been issues of importance to the U.S. Department of Education. President Barack Obama created a task force to address sexual assault on college campuses in January.

“There has been recent federal guidance to encourage universities to be very aggressive. … We have mobilized and have made a very big push to launch the website,” Kilkenny said.

The website identified and delineates the confidential resources on campus.

“This website provides another way for survivors to be made aware of and get connected to confidential resources at Georgetown,” said Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Services Coordinator Jen Schweer, who is one of the two on-campus confidential resources for sexual assault. “Confidential resources do not have obligations to report sexual assaults, but they work with survivors to help them determine if and when to report depending on their desires and their healing process. It’s critical for students to know that there are places where they can explore their options in a safe and confidential way, before deciding on next steps.”
The revised sexual assault policy can be also be found on the new website. In addition to revisions to the sexual assault policy, the university also altered its policy regarding alcohol violations to provide amnesty whenever a student reports an incident of sexual assault involving underage drinking.

“It is important that the university is putting effort into publicizing this information rather than sweeping this issue under the rug. The resources are valuable and it is crucial that people know about them, especially those who need them most,” Lilli Seabol (COL ’17) said.

Although the website has received positive feedback, students are still pushing the university to do more.

Peterson, who has extensive anti-sexual assault advocacy experience, including a White House internship in sexual violence, urged Georgetown to expand the amnesty clause to all drugs, eliminate survivor sexual history in hearings and install a closed circuit camera system where survivors testify to a camera, in lieu of a thin screen between the survivor and the perpetrator.

“As students, we are going to push for the administration to be more proactive and more involved with the issue of sexual assault. In order to create a culture of care we need to have a discussion of what it means to be in a campus and why there are at higher risks,” Sexual Assault Working Group Member Chandini Jha (COL ’16) said. “We are definitely going to continue pushing for more changes.”

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One Comment

  1. MARK TRAINA says:

    WHITE HOUSE sets GUIDELINES to address SEXUAL ASSAULTS on COLLEGE CAMPUSES!

    http://www.c-span.org/video/?317369-2/president-obama-sexual-assaults

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER SEX CRIMES often go UN-REPORTED, UNDER-REPORTED or completely COVERED-UP:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/2014/04/24/sexual-assault-colleges-jameis-winston-president-obama/8122831/

    According to the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT of JUSTICE:

    1) In 2013, over 34,000 WHITE WOMEN were RAPED by BLACK MEN in NORTH AMERICA!

    2) In 2013, 8 BLACK WOMEN were RAPED by WHITE MEN in NORTH AMERICA!

    3) BLACK are more than 90-TIMES more likely to COMMIT a RACE HATE against a WHITE PERSON than VICE-VERSA!

    April 28, 2014 8:19

    The White House will release new guidelines on Tuesday to urge universities to handle sexual assaults more aggressively
    and efficiently, The New York Times reported Monday night.
    New guidelines, drafted by the task force President Barack Obama launched in January, will include recommendations for anonymous surveys of sexual assault cases every three years starting in 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported. The New York Times reported that the White House will likely call on Congress to make the survey mandatory, enforced legislatively or administratively.
    Guidelines are a part of the broader report on sexual assaults. The New York Times said the report will also urge universities to ensure confidentiality of sexual assault reports and that assault prevention training programs will train bystanders on how to intervene.
    The task force also plans to launch a web site called NotAlone.gov where enforcement data will be published, the Los Angeles Times reported.
    At an appearance at UC Berkeley in early April, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, said she is planning to introduce federal legislation to strengthen the government’s efforts to combat sexual assault on university campuses. She, along with other legislators, also called for campus safety statistics to be included in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings.
    The renewed push for more aggressive handling of sexual assaults comes after a series of high-profile cases in which students filed complaints against several universities alleging they mishandled cases of sexual assault. At UC Berkeley, 31 current and former students filed federal complaints against the university in late February, alleging officials have not pursued sexual assault cases aggressively enough.
    Continue reading:
    http://dailybruin.com/2014/04/28/white-house-to-set-guidelines-to-address-sexual-assault-on-college-campuses/

    NATIONAL ASSOCIATION for the ADVANCEMENT of WHITE PEOPLE

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