Officials address sexual assault concerns

Luke McKenzie, ‘Doah Staff Writer
March 18, 2015

“I would not necessarily categorize it as a problem,” was Robine Ebersole’s response, Director of Public Safety at Shenandoah University, when asked if he believed sexual assault was a major issue on Shenandoah’s campus.

Recently Rhonda Colby, Vice President for Student Life, sent out a video to all students warning them of the dangers of sexual assault and giving some general safety tips.

According to the university, there were 24 reported acts of sexual misconduct between Aug. 2013 and Feb. 9, 2015. These acts ranged from verbal assaults all the way to penetration.

According to the Winchester Star, “Assaults were reported by both men and women, and included both students and university staff.”

Ebersole says that anytime the university is notified of a sexual assault on campus the investigation is handled by the Title IX coordinator. According to Shenandoah’s website, the Title IX coordinator is trained to investigate all reports of sexual misconduct, and she is also trained to connect the “survivor” of the incident to resources of care and support.

The sanctions for sexual misconduct range from additional education to expulsion, says Ebersole. According to su.edu there are two methods of handling these types of cases. There is an informal resolution, which starts out with an investigation, and the findings of the investigation being reported. If the victim and accused individual agree on the results of the report and the sanctions, then the case will be resolved.

“The Formal Resolution process involves a Hearing Panel (three trained university officials) that reviews the investigation report, gathers additional testimony if necessary and provides findings and sanctions.” according to su.edu. The formal resolution process is used if the parties cannot agree on the informal resolution, if the survivor wants the case to go straight to the formal process or if the Title IX coordinator wants the case to go straight to the formal resolution.

Ebersole says that students who are involved in acts of sexual misconduct are not required to report the act to Law Enforcement, however the university does encourage the person involved to report the act to Law Enforcement.

Most faculty and staff on campus are mandatory reporters. The non-mandatory reporters on campus are the Wilkins Wellness Center & Counseling Services and the Deans of Spiritual Life, Justin Allen and Raine Johnson. Being a mandatory reporter means that they are legally obliged to notify the Title IX coordinator of any cases of sexual misconduct.

 

Safety tips from DPS:

If you are uncomfortable or feel unsafe, walk with a buddy.

Let someone know ahead of time what time you will be back.

Download TheLiveSafe app on your android or iPhone.

Use the walk safe system by calling DPS at 540-678-4444.

Take a Rape Aggression Defense class on campus.

For questions regarding any of these safety tips contact DPS at 540-678-4444.

 

Important contacts:

Assistant Director of  Student Conduct

& Title IX Coordinator Ashley Wisniewski

(540) 665-4921 awisniew@su.edu

  • Behavioral Consultation Team

bct@su.edu

  • Department of public Safety

(540) 678-4444

safety@su.edu

  • [not Just] Women’s Center

asarch@su.edu (Amy Sarch) • Office of Spiritual Life

(540) 535-3546

spirituallife@su.edu

  • Wilkins Wellness Center

counselors & medical staff

(540) 665-4530 wwcenter@su.edu

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