New sexual assault policies

Reine Pavlik

In response to the Clery Center review last semester, the Office of Intercultural Devolvement has developed new resources that are available for students who are victims of sexual violence.

Among the new resources, the Office of Intercultural Development launched the SASH.lafayette.edu website, which condenses all of the information response protocol and provides answers on what to do in the case of sexual violence.

“We had a website that mainly linked to a downloadable PDF. Essentially we have expanded it and put it on a website,” Director of Gender and Sexuality Programs Gene Kelly said.

The site launched earlier this August. It gives recommendations for any form of sexual violence. Before the website launched, if an incident occurred, the reporter would tell a college official. Then, the official would fill out paperwork, which would go to Public Safety. Now all incidents filed on the website go directly to Dean of Intercultural Development John McKnight.

When the Clery Center, an organization which advocates for sexual assault education and prevention, came to Lafayette in May, it held both open and closed presentations about education, prevention, and protocol. The organization made recommendations to better streamline responsibilities for sexual assault policy at the college.

Kelly now trains students and faculty members to deal with sexual assault incidents as another one of the changes in the college’s response to the recommendations.

“My role is not only to do prevention education, which I was doing before but also to supervise and direct those and train, making sure they know how to handle situations,” Kelly said.

Public Safely is now involved in the case of a sexual violence if there is an emergency, if a student wants charges and an investigation, or if it is a significant community threat, due to the college’s new sexual assault policies.

“What’s really hard is we have to balance multiple needs at once,” Kelly said. “The primary needs we have to balance are the safety of the victim balanced against safety of the campus.”

In addition to the new website, Kelly hopes to soon have Student Advocates for Sexual Health advocates that serve on call after hours and are also available during business hours.

Prior to the reorganization, there were two Sexual Assault Counseling and Education coordinators that served as emergency contacts but were rarely used.

“I think it’s because we weren’t vocalizing them enough and because I was on the scene and people saw me and knew who I was, I became the person people would come to [in the case of an incident],” Kelly said.

Kelly plans to train nine to 10 Lafayette employees as SASH advocates. These advocates will be at event in order to make them familiar with the students, Kelly said.

“I’m hoping we are ready by the end of September,” Kelly said. “A lot has changed on campus. We are getting the word out.”