By Regan Joswiak*
As part of my staff development training, I had the opportunity to see Elaine Pasqua present on the topic of Title IX and the difficulties
that universities, colleges, and individuals are facing with the interpretation of the Campus SaVE Act that President Obama passed in 2013.
Harvard, for example, has new sexual-assault procedures that are being questioned. The procedures allegedly do not allow for due process for the accused, and the Title IX coordinator acts as the investigator, prosecutor, and judge, which may create bias. These procedures have been considered by some to be unfair to the accused and to overly favor the victim.
Sexual assault and rape is a complex topic, even beyond the scope of schools. Students aren’t receiving enough of an education at home about consent, according to Pasqua. We live in a “that wasn’t rape, that was a hook up” culture in terms of alcohol and sex. Here’s some tips that Pasqua offers regarding consent and bystander intervention:
- Don’t have sex with someone who is intoxicated, even if they are initiating it. They may seem to be saying yes, but you could face charges later on the grounds that they were incapacitated when they made the decision.
- Students often ask, “What if we were both drunk at the time?” Here’s some questions that both parties could answer in that situation: Do you feel good about what happened? Do you remember who, what, when, where? The responses to these will affect the situation.
- Bystander intervention:
- Have a group system. If your drunk friend is being approached by someone and that person is trying to lead them off somewhere, have another friend distract the person who is trying to do this (do not call out what they are doing—only get their attention) and then get the victim away from the situation.
- What if you want to intervene but you’re afraid that you will be accused of sexual assault while trying to help? Ask someone who is the same gender of the potential victim to intervene for you, or take pictures/record what you’re doing. Note that this can only help so much, because someone will never know what happened after the recording stopped.
Have questions about SHSU’s Title IX policy? It can be found here.*
SLMS—Pointing Bearkats in the Right Direction
*Please note: While we usually offer our services regarding questions, SLMS cannot provide counsel over matters directly involving the university, between SHSU students, or faculty/staff. Please seek more information from the resources above.