College adopts more thorough sexual assault policy

The college’s Board of Trustees and President Thomas Minar created a task force to review and revise the school’s sexual misconduct policy last summer.

The task force members, who Minar appointed, took a look at the college’s current sexual assault policy, procedures, education, services available to victims and more, then they reported back.

Over the course of the last academic year, Denise Baird—who was a co-chair in the task force—said she and the group met and explored the policy.

“We wanted to be sure that we were in compliance with all of those laws,” Baird said.

Baird pointed out that the college’s previous policy was fully in compliance with Title IX and Indiana law, but said the task force’s goal was to create a more comprehensive policy.

One of the biggest differences between the old and the new policy is that the new policy was created for more than sexual assault and misconduct.

The comprehensive policy protects students and employees from discrimination, harassment, interpersonal violence, stalking, complicity and retaliation. It applies to both students and faculty.

The policy clarifies that employees have an obligation to alert authorities after misconduct cases are reported to them. The procedures on dealing with these forms of misconduct were also revised over the summer.

“I wouldn’t say these details weren’t there before and are there now,” Baird said. “Rather, I would say they have been strengthened, improved upon and clarified.”

Both Baird and Minar recognized the importance of being aware of the problem as a community—all while having tools and resources to report potential violations available.

At the same time, Baird said she recognizes the challenges associated with having conversations about sexual misconduct.

“It is very difficult to find a place where you are addressing this troubling behavior that doesn’t make somebody feel a little uncomfortable,” Baird said. “It’s kind of hard to have a speaker come to campus and talk about rape culture and have everybody feeling great walking out of there. It’s not a pleasant topic.”

The task force also created easy access to links to report sexual misconduct on myFC. The links are located on the left side of the page.

Students have the option of filing out a formal or anonymous report about a sexual assault or misconduct.

Despite the college’s attempt to lay out the sexual misconduct policy plainly—like in flow charts located in bathroom stalls around campus with information on when and how to report sexual assaults—senior Ryanne Wise said it isn’t enough.

“I would love to see more events on campus about sexual assault,” Wise said. “We can post signs on the back of bathroom doors all day long, but that is for the reactive side of sexual assault and what to do if you’ve been assaulted. I’d love to see something proactive.”

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About Abrahm Hurt 21 Articles
Abrahm Hurt is a news writer for The Franklin. He got interested in multimedia journalism after he was on the Covenant Christian High School student newspaper for two years.

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