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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

December 18, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Commentary: Reducing sexual assault priority for Title IX Office

In response to The Ithacan article and editorial regarding sexual assault on campus, the Title IX Office would like to take the opportunity to invite the entire campus community to engage in continued dialogue and action on this critical issue. The more participation we have, the more equipped our college can be to create a culture that is intolerant of sexual and dating violence.

With this said, I want to correct any assertion or assumption that Ithaca College or the Title IX Office is presuming that everything is fine; that in some way we are complacent to the fact that sexual and dating violence is a problem. In fact, our prevention efforts, and the culture of reporting we are working diligently to promote, are so that we can gain more information about and further address this problem.

As noted in the article, our office received funding to add a Title IX Deputy Coordinator position this past July. This position is in response to the fact that the number of reports we receive has climbed, and as a result, we need to give greater focus to prevention efforts. These include:

  • The SHARE (Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Education) presentation during New Student Orientation, an interactive program utilizing a variety of resources to begin a dialogue with incoming students about the role they can play in creating a culture of Affirmative Consent.
  • “Bringing in the Bystander,” a program that highlights everyone’s role in ending sexual violence by providing pro-social strategies for intervening safely to prevent violence.
  • Training and curriculum materials offered to Ithaca Seminar faculty to conduct workshops on Affirmative Consent for freshmen to help them explore their own values and opinions about sexual violence.

Programs like these are in place to offer ongoing education and outreach. In addition, the Title IX Office offers training to faculty and staff on various topics regarding Title IX with a focus on prevention, faculty and staff obligations as “Responsible Employees,” and strategies for receiving a disclosure from an individual who has experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking.

If you — or someone you know — experiences sexual or dating violence, we encourage you to utilize the resources available from the Title IX Office and the Office of Public Safety. If you are not yet ready to take the step of filing a formal report and want to consider your options or just talk to someone, a number of offices on campus can help you and provide support as confidential resources without sharing information with the Title IX Coordinator or the Office of Public Safety. In addition, the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County holds open office hours on campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays to consult and offer support as well as holding ongoing support groups for survivors.

Do you want to be part of the solution? The Title IX Office welcomes all students, staff, and faculty who want to partner with us in helping create a campus environment that is safe and inclusive, and free from sexual violence, harassment, or discrimination. You can contact us directly (Linda Koenig, lkoenig@ithaca.edu or Maggie Wetter, mwetter@ithaca.edu), email share@ithaca.edu, or come to our office located in room 074 on the Garden Level of Peggy Ryan Williams Center.