To help bring awareness to faculty, staff and students about Title IX, Centre College will host the It’s On Us Week of Action, Oct. 16-20.
It’s On Us is a national campaign with 95 partners on over 5,000 college campuses. The campaign asks everyone to step up and realize that the conversation around sexual assault starts with “us” and that we can be part of the solution, which is what Centre is focusing on this year.
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that states higher education institutions cannot discriminate against anybody based on sex or gender. Title IX includes all forms of sexual harassment and assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. Enduring harassment and sexual misconduct prohibits students from equal access to education.
It’s a priority at Centre “to create an environment where every student feels safe, welcomed and cared about,” said Sarah Curry, Title IX deputy coordinator. “It’s the right thing to do and what students need to thrive. Every student has a right to equal access to education.”
Creating a larger culture of caring about sexual assault during this week is part of what Curry is excited about in her new role on campus.
“It’s On Us makes it clear that this isn’t survivors’ problem or women’s problem but an issue that impacts everybody in the community,” Curry said. “It’s a community-wide issue, and it’s on all of us at Centre to create a culture of caring.
It’s On Us at Centre is co-sponsored by Students for Prevention Education & Advocacy in the Community (SPEAC), Residence Life, Greek Life Office, the Title IX Committee, Department of Public Safety (DPS) and athletics.
“The SPEAC group, which is now 26 students large, is a microcosm of the It’s On Us campaign we hope to grow on campus,” she said. “SPEAC students are Centre, and they believe ‘it’s on us’ to create a campus where everyone is safe and a culture of sexual violence is unacceptable.”
Curry said the focus of the week is on the community and resources.
One example of a resource is on the CentreNet page under Campus Life, “Sexual Misconduct Resources & Support.”
According to Curry, this page includes the sexual misconduct policy, frequently asked questions about Title IX, what to do in case of an incident, a statement to survivors, the College’s mission of caring, a list of current SPEAC students, and the Title IX team and advisory board, along with other resources.
As part of the week, Centre will be launching a new online reporting tool for students called Sexual Misconduct & Assault Reporting Tool (SMART).
Curry said the tool will help the College track reports of sexual violence and, if applicable, include in DPS reports. SMART will also aid Centre in better understanding the incidence of sexual misconduct on campus and help with educations, prevention and response efforts. Additionally, the tool can help the College reach out to the survivor, if identified, to offer support services and interim measures and discuss initiating a Title IX complaint.
Together, Centre can create a culture of caring where:
• Students, faculty and staff feel safe in the place where they work, live and study;
• Students, faculty and staff are educated in bystander intervention;
• Students understand what consent is and strive to have healthy sexual relationships;
• Survivors feel safe reporting what’s happened to them and know we care and will help;
• Resources are known and widely accessed; and
• Policies are alive and practiced and give us strength and clarity to create and uphold the values of the Centre community.
It’s On Us Week of Action information:
• On Oct. 16, the Sexual Misconduct & Assault Reporting Tool (SMART) will be on the home page of CentreNet, www.centre.edu/SMART, and in the Live Safe app.
• Students will be able to access new resources and the sexual misconduct policy in one user-friendly spot. Visit “Sexual Misconduct Resources & Support” under Campus Life on CentreNet. Take a minute to familiarize yourself with the website and read our statement of support and mission of caring.
• Flyers will be posted in every residence hall providing information of what to do in case of an incident of sexual misconduct.
• Visit the It’s On Us table in Cowan at dinner staffed by SPEAC, the student advisory board to Title IX. Come pick up a sticker, visit the It’s On Us Photo Booth and take the It’s On US “banner” pledge “committing to help create a culture of consent, bystander intervention, and support.” It will hang it in Cowan at the end of the week as a reminder of the strength of our community.
• SPEAC students will be visiting meetings to talk about SMART and why making a SMART report might feel right to you. Have five minutes to spare to learn how to support your friends and community? Invite us to your meeting by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
• On Oct. 17, Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center (BRCC) will host a training for SPEAC students from 7 to 8:30 p.m. If you’ve been wanting to know more about SPEAC, BRCC, or how to support survivors, RSVP to email@example.com for a spot at the training by Thursday, Oct. 12.
• Take an It’s On Us photo of yourself, your friends or your campus organization and post it to social media using #ItsOnUS #Centre. You can tag @SPEAC_Centre on Instagram.
by Kerry Steinhofer
October 11, 2017