Improve Pratt Institute's Sexual Assault Reporting System
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We, the Pratt Feminists, feel that it is necessary to improve Pratt Institute's Title IX reporting process to further ensure the safety of students. The current system is not effective for all students.
Rainn.org states that "Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation," however only three on-campus rapes were reported on the 2017 Annual Jeanne Clery Act and Campus Crime Report, covering 2014, 2015, and 2016. These numbers do not add up.
We have compiled a list of revisions that we present not only as suggestions but as demands. These revisions include making information on resources more accessible and widely spread so that all students are aware.
Our revisions are:
- Pratt Institute students have an extreme lack of knowledge of their resources. The current methods of spreading information is ineffective. Information about who to report sexual assaults and misconduct to needs to be much more visible and consistent. Simply using the term “Title IX Coordinator” is language that many students do not understand or even know has anything to do with sexual assault.
- Information on the reporting process, such as who is available to help and where, is not as widely known as it should be. A solution to this problem would be to make Title IX information sessions mandatory during first-year and transfer orientation. We also acknowledge that many, if not most, students do not retain this information during orientation due to how much information they are learning over the course of a few days, and the stress of adjusting to college. To combat this, we suggest that Title IX information sessions be mandatory for all students in every grade, in every major, no matter their age.
- Pamphlets and information available online need to be reworded so that it is more accessible to all students. Right now, it is written under the assumption that everyone understands the jargon used, which could alienate and intimidate students, especially international students and english-as-second-language students. As an art school, most of our students are visual-learners, which often means that large blocks of text are intimidating or uninteresting.
- When an assault is reported on campus, students should be notified of where it happened and when. Names of perpetrator need not be included. This suggestion came to us after realizing that students only receive alerts or see posters about potential threats who are not students, and sometimes the incident doesn’t even occur on campus. The reason students should be alerted of assaults on campus is because it is far more likely for students to interact with the perpetrator on campus than it is for them to encounter the same perpetrator off campus. These alerts would serve as a great opportunity to distribute information to students regarding details on how to report and to who, what to do after an assault, counseling services, and whatever other accommodations may be required. An example of this proposal in action could apply to a hypothetical situation where a student has been assaulted at an off-campus party over the weekend. Campus security could respond to this report by sending out a mass email with information regarding resources for victims of assault, bystander intervention tips, and other relevant information.
- Pratt should acquire more Title IX coordinators in the case of a few instances, including but not limited to: 1. Students being uncomfortable with one of the coordinators, 2. One of the coordinators not being available.
- When a Title IX complaint is made against a student, and that student is a member of a student organization (ie a club, a sport, Greek life, etc), part of the investigation process should include their organization examining and determining whether or not the student still meets their organization’s standards. If not, that student is to be removed from their organization. This is proposed because victims should not have to feel discouraged from attending campus events that their attacker is associated with. Re-entry to the organization may be considered only if the victim is notified and feels comfortable with the re-evaluation.
- We propose that Health & Counseling acquire rape kits. Every victim of rape should be encouraged to have a rape kit completed as soon as they can after the assault. However, we acknowledge that students may feel intimidated to go to the police for a number of reasons including the fear of being confronted with racial bias. Having rape kits available in Health & Counseling would allow for more students to gather evidence regarding their assault, while staying in their comfort zone and getting support from their own community.
We propose that our demands be met by Fall 2018. For more information on our specific revisions, check out our Facebook page, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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