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[Fresh] Fresh@news: Title IX Information



 

Today we are interviewing Ryan Rost (’96 B.A., ’98 M.S.) who holds the new positon of Title IX Coordinator at Villanova University.  Ryan has been an active member of the campus community for many years and is excited to serve students in this new role under the University Compliance Office.

 

Fresh@news: We hear a lot about Title IX in the news.  Can you explain what Title IX is?

 

Ryan Rost: Title IX refers to the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX is part of the Civil Rights Act and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.  Many people associate Title IX with women in sports which was a focus of enforcement in the 80’s and 90’s.  Title IX protection also includes sexual misconduct and sexual violence.  In 2011, the Department of Education issued guidance for colleges and universities to follow regarding sexual misconduct on college campuses.  Sexual misconduct includes sexual assault, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence and stalking.

 

Fresh@news: Can you explain what the Title IX Coordinator is responsible for doing? 

 

R. Rost:  As the Title IX Coordinator, I serve as a visible resource for the entire campus community and have the responsibility of coordinating Villanova’s efforts to comply with Title IX.  Working with other departments at Villanova, we seek to eliminate sexual violence and other sexual misconduct from our community, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.

 

Fresh@news: Villanova seems like a relatively safe campus, but we know that no college campus is immune to sexual violence. What does Villanova do to prevent sexual violence from happening?

 

R. Rost:  Villanova has numerous education and prevention programs, some of which begin before your daughter or son arrived on campus.  Here are just a few:

 

Haven: A premier online course to help students understand, address and prevent sexual violence.  This engaging and accessible program uses evidence-based content to address this critical issue with all incoming undergraduate students.

 

Moments that Matter: An engaging video presentation and student-led discussion that is part of our New Student Orientation.  This video includes current students, faculty and staff providing information on prevention, resources, trainings, strategies and much more.

 

Bystander intervention campaign and training: This initiative helps students understand consent, learn safe and effective ways to intervene in situations involving alcohol and/or sexual violence and identifies campus and community resources available to Villanova students. As the Title IX Coordinator, a large part of my role will be prevention training for students, faculty and staff.

 

In addition, the Office of Health Promotion coordinates many of Villanova’s education and prevention efforts.  A listing of the initiatives are found on the website.

 

Fresh@news: How can a student get more involved in sexual violence prevention at Villanova?

 

R. Rost:  Your son or daughter can become a member of POWER (Peers Offering Wellness Education & Resources) – our trained peer education team who sponsor and participate in numerous health awareness initiatives, including sexual violence prevention.  Students can also join NovaSVA, our student-run Sexual Violence Awareness committee.  Another group students can join is MOVE above the influence which is a welcoming community of students who look to form healthy relationships and create sober, alcohol-free activities.  Lastly, students can engage in casual conversations with peers about sexual violence and what they think they can do to help with prevention.

 

Here is a list of other ways students can get involved.

 

Fresh@news: What does Villanova do to support students who file a complaint about sexual violence (i.e., complainants)?

 

R. Rost:  Most importantly, Villanova ensures that the student making the report is safe.  From there, Villanova has numerous on and off campus resources available to help support students who report sexual violence.  Just a few of these resources are:

·       Sexual Assault Resource Coordinator (SARC) Team – available 24/7 to help provide support, give information regarding reporting and process options and coordinate accommodations.

·       Public Safety – available 24/7 to accept reports, conduct investigations, serves as liaison with local law enforcement; Public Safety offers services such as security escorts and no-contact orders.

·       University Counseling Center – provides confidential counseling to students.  The Counseling Center is one of the confidential reporting options on campus.

·       Student Health Center – provides medical care, testing for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy and predatory drugs, open 24/7 when classes are in session.

 

A list of on and off campus resources can be found on the University’s Sexual Violence website.

 

Fresh@news: Does the University provide support to students who have been accused of sexual violence (i.e., respondents)?

 

R. Rost:  The University does appoint a support person to respondents.  The support person will review the disciplinary process, answer questions about what to expect, and/or check-in with the respondent throughout the disciplinary process. Some other resources for respondents can be found here.

 

Fresh@news: What happens when a student makes a report of sexual violence to the University? Does it automatically trigger a police investigation?

 

R. Rost:  When a report is made regarding sexual violence, the University will take prompt and responsive action.  While Villanova encourages students to make a report to the local police, a police investigation is not automatically triggered.  Generally, the reporting student decides whether he/she wants to report to local police.

 

When a student makes a report of sexual violence to the University, the student can:

1.    Request the University to pursue action under the Code of Student Conduct; and/or

2.    Make a report to the local police; and/or

3.    Make a statement for the record

 

If the student making the report wants to pursue action on campus, which is encouraged, the University will investigate and adjudicate the matter under the procedures outlined in the Code of Student Conduct.  Students are also encouraged to report to local police.

 

All Villanova constituents will work to resolve reports in a prompt and equitable manner.  The University may impose interim measures to protect all students involved from, among other things, retaliation and further acts of misconduct.  These interim measures can include a no-contact order, security escort, academic/living/transportation accommodations and emotional support.

 

Fresh@news:  Why is the University conducting a climate survey about sexual violence this fall?

 

R. Rost:  The sexual violence climate survey will provide Villanova with valuable insights directly from our student body on the topic of sexual violence.  Our students are our greatest resource for obtaining information on their own experiences and perceptions on sexual violence at Villanova.  The information gathered from this climate survey will tell us what initiatives we need to continue and/or change with regard to our education and prevention efforts.   The data will also tell us the degree of confidence the students have in the University’s policies, procedures and outcomes related to reports of sexual violence.  

 

Fresh@news: What can parents do to help prevent sexual violence?

 

R. Rost:  Parents can talk with their children about things such as: healthy relationships, the role alcohol can play in sexual violence, how to intervene to help a friend and how to become involved in prevention and education.  Also, parents can encourage their child to participate in the sexual violence climate survey so that we can have the most complete data possible.

 

For more information about Villanova’s sexual violence policies, procedures and programs, please visit our website.

 

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Fresh@News would like to wish you and your family

a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving.

We hope that you have a wonderful holiday

with your son or daughter and that

you both enjoy your time together!

 

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