KEYC - Gustavus Updates Sexual Misconduct Policy

Gustavus Updates Sexual Misconduct Policy

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ST. PETER, MINN. -

A report of a sexual assault on campus last year led to students at Gustavus Adolphus College seeking changes in how the administration handles the issue.

Earlier this year, students at Gustavus Adolphus College demanded changes to the way sexual assault reports are handled... specifically seeking more support for survivors.

VP for Student Life JoNes Van Hecke said, "The task force was part of our response to hearing students concerns."

The Sexual Misconduct Task Force was established this past spring, looking at the college's policies against sexual assault and sexual misconduct, as part of Title IX.

They delved into procedures, education, prevention and student confidentiality.

Van Hecke said, "The new form is specific to sexual misconduct and is available to students or others to make reports to the campus. That's probably the most significant piece of change."

The online report submitted to the Dean of Students allows survivors to remain anonymous or identify, which can help connect them to resources like the college's Sexual Assault Response Team or SART.

Van Hecke said, "SART will be available to go with a student to any of the appointments that they might have, work with them and advocate for them through both campus investigation and adjudication processes. And if students choose to make reports to police, SART can support them in that process."

Van Hecke adds the adjudication process includes a three-person panel, which includes a student to make sure they have a voice in the process and execution of the campus's policy.

Gustavus also has an education component that begins before students arrive and continues throughout their college career.

Van Hecke said, "During our new student orientation and then other programming throughout the academic year in talking with students not only about sexual misconduct but about prevention, and about consent and bystander intervention."

A new Minnesota Law that went into effect earlier this month requires colleges and universities to submit data annually about sexual assaults to the Office of Higher Education, which is expected to be made public in December.

Gustavus Policy Against Sexual Assault: https://gustavus.edu/deanofstudents/policies/gustieguide/sexual-assault.php

Reporting Form: https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?GustavusAdolphusCollege&layout_id=4

--KEYC News 12