Support for Survivors at Clemson University
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To: President Clements and Members of the Clemson Administration
From: Students, Alumni, Faculty and Staff of Clemson University and Supporters of Survivors of Interpersonal Violence
Currently, the advocacy resources necessary to effectively support survivors of sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship abuse, and stalking are not provided at Clemson. Further, Clemson has failed us when we have asked to have these resources provided that are critical to physical, mental, and emotional well-being of survivors. We have outlined below a number of initiatives that we feel should be undertaken to best meet the needs of students and fill current gaps in services provided on campus.
If you support survivors at Clemson University, sign below to show administration that you think these initiatives should be implemented. The steps expanded on below include:
- Separation of Title IX and Interpersonal Violence Prevention Offices
- Hiring of Three (3) Experienced, Confidential, and Certified Advocates
- Trauma-informed Training for Key Clemson Leadership
- Restructuring of Student Placement on the President’s Commission on Women
- Execution of a Campus Climate Survey
- Creation of a Women’s and Gender Center
In support of this proposal and survivors of violence regardless of gender identity on Clemson’s campus, student organizations are sponsoring a Women’s March Against Violence on November 15th at 3pm. The route will start at Old Main (Tillman Hall) and end at Sikes Hall. We are promoting the hashtag #CMeToo and walking .9 miles in support of the 90% of college student survivors who do not feel safe reporting sexual assault. Everyone is welcome, we hope to see you there! Facebook: Women's March Against Violence at Clemson University
1. Separation of Title IX and Interpersonal Violence Prevention Offices
To better avoid conflicts of interests within Title IX, ameliorate safety concerns (as survivors are often forced to interact with their assailants in passing), and expand and centralize current on-campus resources, the Title IX and Interpersonal Violence Prevention (IVP) Offices must be separated physically, and the current IVP responsibilities must be relocated, reassessed, and rebranded separate from Title IX department completely.
- Relocated: The IVP office should be moved to a new centrally-located, comfortable and more expansive location on-campus to better accommodate the magnitude of students it will serve. This location must be separate enough to ensure that safety concerns are satisfied--for example potential for encounters between parties of cases in route to or within offices should be eliminated.
- Reassessed: Upon the relocation of the IVP office, the responsibilities of the IVP office must be maintained and expanded to include campus-wide education, prevention, and support for survivors through the hiring of advocates. All current positions within the IVP office should be transferred over with the inclusion of new responsibilities.
- Rebranded: Once the reassessment and expansion of the IVP office has occurred, it should be renamed to better represent its purpose such as Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Response Office. In addition to said renaming, there must be a push to update the website, and more comprehensively market the office’s resources to students to increase awareness.
While coordination with Title IX and other relevant offices remains necessary, it is imperative that there is a distinct and separate entity that offers free, inclusive, and confidential support to survivors of interpersonal violence on campus, similar to other ACC and state universities, including:
Duke University, University of South Carolina, Florida State University, Boston College, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Louisville, NC State University, University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Wake Forest University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Winthrop University, the Citadel and the College of Charleston.
2. Hiring of Three (3) Experienced, Confidential, and Certified Advocates
The hiring of three experienced, confidential, and certified advocates in the new separate space operating under the direction of an office coordinator who holds rapport within the survivor community remains essential to the support for student survivors of interpersonal violence at Clemson as well as to the empowerment of all students. An advocate’s defined responsibilities at other universities include, but are not limited to:
- Support for survivors: Accompaniment for legal, medical, and academic services and hearings; crisis intervention and emotional support; navigation of housing and academic accommodations; guidance for resources, referrals, and reporting options; and safety planning
- Empowerment of all students: Provision of training, education, community outreach initiatives, and resources to encourage the Clemson community to be involved in the discussion surrounding and prevention of interpersonal violence
This hiring of advocates and their defined responsibilities reflects the policies of other state and ACC schools that currently utilize advocates in a specified space on campus separate from Title IX offices.
3. Trauma-informed Training for Key Clemson Leadership
Through our interactions with members of the Clemson leadership, it has become clear that many of our campus leaders and student administrators lack trauma-informed training. Said training is necessary so that administrators that frequently interact with the student body can convey that Clemson’s culture supports survivors.
- Ideas for trainings include the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Coordinator, local advocacy centers, or external experts/programs.
4. Restructuring of Student Placement on the President’s Commission on Women
Currently, there is only one student liaison to the President’s Commission on Women who is appointed by the Clemson Undergraduate Student Government (CUSG) Senate from the CUSG Senate body. We feel that to more effectively represent student needs, in addition to faculty and staff needs, multiple seats for students should be allocated in this commission and appointments for said seats should be open to the student body by application or interview so that the best and most dedicated or interested students can be selected.
5. Execution of a Campus Climate Survey
The last academic year’s reported number of sexual assaults was 8--a number that the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network data suggests is vastly unrepresentative of the true “1 in 4” campus sexual violence statistic. Given that the last campus climate survey was completed in 2012, we recommend that Clemson executes an updated survey annually so that factual evidence exists surrounding student experiences with interpersonal violence outside of police-reported data, which remains limiting. The majority of other ACC and state schools continue to complete campus climate surveys regularly. Options for method of execution are as follows:
- Recommencement of the 2012 presidentially-appointed sexual violence task force
- Tigers Advance Trailblazer for a potential academic creative inquiry opportunity
- External research processor (e.g. the Association of American Universities Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct)
- Through an existing office (e.g. Inclusion & Equity, Gantt, Healthy Campus, etc.)
6. Creation of a Women’s and Gender Center
While the separation and relocation of the IVP office provides immediate additional support for students, the eventual creation of a Women’s and Gender Center--and the incorporation of the IVPR office to be housed under said center--remains necessary to fully fill current gaps in services provided for all students, faculty and staff on campus. The creation of such a center aligns closely with all four REAL priorities set forth in the ClemsonFORWARD plan as well as other ACC universities that contain similar centers. The Women’s and Gender Center responsibilities would include but are not limited to:
- Support, resources and advocacy for student survivors of interpersonal violence
- Intentional educational opportunities through trainings, events and student advisement that encourage culture change and empower students, faculty and staff to dismantle entrenched misconceptions, beliefs, and behaviors
- Creation of a physically safe, comfortable, and inclusive environment that will foster discussion, learning and community fellowship
- Execution and use of empirical practice such as the campus climate survey to challenge traditional academic approaches by connecting systematic issues and the academic experience
- Engagement with administration and external community to promote and inform on broad and Clemson-specific approaches to social justice, gender and equity.
If you have any questions about this proposal, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions about the march?
Facebook: Women’s March Against Violence at Clemson University
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