Stockton University: Take Action Against Sexual Assault
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As Stockton University expands its reach throughout South Jersey, it is imperative that Stockton take action to support its growing student body and provide resources to students in crisis situations, especially related to sexual assault and gendered violence.
Sexual assault and gendered violence is a significant problem across the United States and throughout the world, and Stockton University is not exempt from these threats.
Stockton’s 2017 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report discloses the following cases were reported from 2014-2016:
- 4 cases of fondling
- 7 cases of domestic violence
- 12 cases of dating violence
- 12 reported rapes
- 20 cases of stalking
This is not, of course, just a problem within our community. In fact, sexual assault and gendered violence are massive threats to college students nationwide.
According to the The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN):
- College women ages 18-24 are 3 times more likely to experience sexual violence when compared to non-college aged women.
- College women are 2 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than they are to be robbed.
- Only 20% of female college students report sexual violence to law enforcement officials.
Furthermore, the CDC has also reported that:
- 37.4% of female rape victims were first raped between the ages of 18-24.
- In a study of undergraduate women, 19% experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college.
- Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men reported experiencing rape at some time in their lives.
Stockton’s mission statement claims the University “provides an environment for excellence.” We believe that in order for excellence to thrive, certain steps must be taken to ensure the safety of our community. We propose that Stockton do the following:
- Reaffirm its commitment to the guidelines set forth in the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The letter was issued as a reminder to colleges and universities that they must be transparent in reporting sexual assault and harassment in order to receive federal funding, providing a strict framework for handling and documenting these crimes. As of 2017, the Dear Colleague Letter has been withdrawn, creating potential loopholes for institutions to exploit. We strongly urge Stockton University not to abandon the guidelines set forth in this document.
- Establish an anonymous, confidential 24/7 hotline for Stockton University students in crisis situations, particularly those who have experienced sexual assault and/or gendered violence. Institutions ranging from the University of Delaware and Penn State University to Lawrence University and Carleton College have implemented their own 24/7 call centers to improve the quality of safety for students on campus. Stockton University lacks confidential resources for students in these crisis situations after typical business hours as well as on weekends; additionally, students may feel more comfortable reporting to an internal, professionally trained source familiar with Stockton’s campus and the caller’s rights, as laid out in The Clery Act and therefore more likely to report incidents of sexual assault and gendered violence.
Stockton’s Guiding Principle is “Students first; vision and strategy follow.” By recommitting to the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and creating a 24/7 crisis hotline, Stockton would be supporting its current students in a responsive and transparent way and acting on its core mission and values. Stockton will benefit from these actions: students’ wellness will be promoted; Stockton’s reputation as an environment for excellence will be upheld; campus safety will be improved; and prospective students will feel safer knowing the university is invested in the safety and well-being of its students.
Stockton University should take the lead by being one of the first schools in New Jersey to publicly recommit to the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, and by establishing a 24/7 crisis hotline.
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