Students and faculty respond to sexual assault

Stephanie Dawber
Editor-in-Chief

On Sept. 22 Bridgewater State University (BSU) faculty, staff and students received their first Clery report for the Fall 2015 semester.

According to the Clery Report issued by Lieutenant Rushton via email, “Earlier today, the university’s Title IX

Coordinator received a report of a rape of a female student that occurred on or about Sept. 19. The incident was reported to have taken place in an unidentified campus residence hall room.”

The suspect was reported to be a male non-student who was known to the victim-survivor prior to the assault. However, neither the suspect nor the victim-survivor was identified by the third-person reporting party.

“Any sexual assault is one too many and intolerable. It’s good to see though that people are coming forward and finding ways to seek help when they are faced with these circumstances,” said Paul Jean, Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

BSU is trying to reduce incidents of sexual assault by providing Bystander Intervention training.

“Last year we piloted this training with certain student groups, including RAs and student security officers. We also provided the training to this year’s RAs and student security officers,” said Jean. “This year we are opening the training to employees at sessions we are holding in October and March.”

In accordance with the Bystander Intervention training sessions, BSU has deployed the online Haven Sexual Assault training, which all incoming students are required to take.

“We are trying to integrate some of the issues of sexual assault into the core curriculum,” said Jean. “We are developing a student life skills course that will probably be piloting in the fall of next year, fall 2016. It will be piloted as an elective course, but the thought is that it will probably ultimately be a mandatory, required course.”

Students are voicing their concerns about the sexualt assault on campus.

Yuri Santos, a BSU senior studying Communications, said, “My concern is about student safety on campus. I know this is an incident that is very difficult to prevent but we just really need to raise awareness on these issues.”

Similarly, BSU junior Elliot McBride said, “[The sexual assault] doesn’t really make me feel that safe, it’s definitely concerning.”

For Santos, students need to watch out for one another.

“If you see it, call it out, because it’s disgusting and not acceptable,” said Santos, explaining that he thinks these incidents can make students feel unsafe.

For resources and reporting options available to help victim-survivors, the Clery report read, “Please visit our Title IX Resource page for more information, including reporting options, grievance procedures, protective measures and other available on-campus and off-campus resources and counseling.”

Stephanie Dawber is the Editor-in-Chief of The Comment newspaper. Follow her on Twitter @StephanieDawber or email her at sdawber@student.bridgew.edu.

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