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OVW Grant: Rights and Options

addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking

Effective October 1, 2020, the College was awarded the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Grant to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Campus Program (Campus Program). The ultimate objective of the grant activities is to help the college create an effective, comprehensive approach to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking; a comprehensive approach includes both prevention and intervention and requires a multi-faceted, coordinated effort that engages key stakeholders from the surrounding community and throughout the campus, including students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking, know that you are a part of a campus community that cares and wants to help. You have the right to live, learn, and/or work in a safe and welcoming environment. Violence is unacceptable and prohibited by Wilmington College’s student conduct, faculty, and staff policies. Each person’s experience is unique and numerous options are available for support and reporting at Wilmington College. It is important to note there is no correct response, simply different options to access support and/or different reporting options. Below you will find information that details requirements of the College (by law) regarding how they must respond to reports of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking as well as some of the resources that are available to survivors.

Clery Act

Congress passed the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (known as the Clery Act) in 1990, a federal law requiring United States colleges and universities to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. The Act is enforced by the United States Department of Education.

Also, under the Clery Act, when a student or employee reports they have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, the institution must provide them with a written explanation of their rights and options. This written explanation is provided to students and employees every year through their respective handbooks to set expectations of appropriate conduct while at Wilmington College, ensuring that students and employees are aware of their responsibilities, rights, and options as members of the College community. In addition to the handbook, Wilmington College also has a more concise written notification resource that was developed specifically for people who are in crisis. You can review the written notification resource here.

 

Title IX

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Colleges, universities, and school districts are required under Title IX to provide survivors with a prompt, adequate, and impartial investigation should they chose to make a report. This includes the following:

  • Provide a timeframe of all important stages of the grievance process.
  • Allow both parties to adequately present their case with appropriate witnesses and relevant evidence.
  • Resolve the case based on a preponderance of evidence standard (i.e., more likely than not that the sexual violence or harassment occurred)
  • Simultaneously notify both parties in writing of the outcome and any disciplinary sanctions imposed.
  • Provide the same opportunities to both parties.

Required to Report

An official with authority is a College official who has authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the College. For reports involving only students, the College has designated the following individuals as officials who have authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the College:

  • a) President
  • b) Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students
  • c) Vice President for Academic Affairs/ Dean of Faculty
  • d) Vice President of External Programs (where the complainant or respondent participates in the College’s Cincinnati branch)

For reports involving an employee, the College has designated the following individuals as officials with authority who have authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the College:

  • a) President
  • b) Director of Human Resources
  • c) Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty
  • d) Vice President of External Programs (where the complainant or respondent participates in the College’s Cincinnati branch)

Note: Campus Security Authorities (CSAs), by default, will report as well because they are responsible for reporting criminal offenses. CSAs include security personnel and individuals responsible for campus security per the campus security policy.

 

Confidential Resources

The following individuals can give confidential or private support on campus – meaning they have no obligation to report and, in fact, have an obligation to honor the confidentiality of the survivor.

Note: All confidential resources have a statutory obligation to breech confidentiality in cases where someone discloses an imminent threat or abuse of a minor. All confidential resources are required to report vague information (i.e., nature of incident, general location, estimate of the time the incident took place) for the Annual Security Report (ASR); the ASR is required by the Clery Act. Furthermore, the Campus Advocate is the only confidential resource that does not have privileged confidentiality– meaning their confidentiality policy is not recognized by the law. Some states have advocacy privilege, but Ohio does not. The Campus Advocate can be mandated by a court to disclose (i.e., subpoenaed).

Please check out the college’s Title IX page! You can also review your handbook (student or fac/staff) for the most up to date and detailed information regarding the College’s response protocols to reports of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.

How can I help?

When someone has experienced or is questioning an incident of violence (e.g., sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking) they most often disclose their experience to a trusted friend. A concerned, kind, non-judgmental response from someone who cares has been shown to be the most important first step toward healing.

Consider the following guidelines so you know what to say:

  • “I believe you” are three powerful words to someone who has just experienced violence.
  • Reassure your friend that whatever happened is not their fault.

Your friend may be trying to make sense of what happened by looking for a justification that pinpoints why this happened. Remember it is NEVER the victim’s fault. It doesn’t matter what they were wearing, what they were doing, how much alcohol they had…it is not their fault. Always counter any self-blame you hear with, “What happened was not your fault,” or “you were not to blame in any way for what they did to you.”

Avoid questions that perpetuate self-blame like:

  • “Why did you let them into your room?”
  • “Why did you drink so much?”
  • “Why do you stay in that relationship?”

Reasons why victims stay or don’t report can be complicated; for example, did you know victims are often at greatest risk just after they leave an abusive relationship? Consider emailing the Campus Advocate (advocate@wilmington.edu) if you struggle with these questions and want to learn more about supporting survivors and/or victims of crime. You can also request an EPIC Education to learn more!

Use open-ended questions such as:

  • “What do you need?”
  • “I want to help; what can I do?”

Gently suggest resources:

  • “Would making an appointment with the Campus Advocate be helpful?”
  • “Have you considered who else you might be comfortable talking to about the way you’ve been feeling?”
  • “Have you considered reporting what happened?”
  • Provide them with the Wilmington College “written notification” and review it together (unless they want to be alone).

Avoid telling your friend what to do.

Allow your friend to make their own decisions about support options, counseling options, reporting, and whether they should seek medical care. Support their decisions. It can be difficult to see your friend stay in a harmful situation or not want to seek justice. Remember that your friend is the expert of their own life and has done what they can to keep themself safe.

  • If you know the perpetrator, avoid comments like, “they would never do that,” “they’re not that kind of person,” or “I find that hard to believe.”
  • Acknowledge that something distressing happened and encourage your friend to take the time they need for healing and recovery.
  • Be sure your friend knows about the available resources.

Get support for yourself too.

If you don’t know where to start – or you’re having trouble dealing with the situation yourself – you can connect with the Campus Advocate or a counselor for consultation and personal support. Supporting a friend can be stressful, and you do not need to go through it alone.

REQUEST EPIC EDUCATION Clery act rights & options Guide Know your title ix rights Resources

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