By Courtney Bottorff
On October 7, 2016 William Penn University released their Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for 2016, where campus crime, including sexual assault policies and reports, were published. While the reports are a representation of William Penn University, there is speculation rising between the reports and national statistics.
The Annual Security and Fire Safety Reports released are in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, better known as the Clery Act.
According to clerycenter.org, this act “requires all colleges and universities who receive federal funding to share information about crime on campus and their efforts to improve campus safety as well as inform the public of crime in or around campus.”
Among the policies and numbers, lie William Penn University’s sexual assault reports. The section in the annual reports entitled Reporting Sexual Assault says, “No one has the right to force or pressure another to have sex. Sexual assaults, including rape, are serious crimes of violence in which the assailant by threat or physical force involves or attempts to involve the victim in involuntary sexual contact.” After this statement the section lists the people and/or agencies to whom reports can be made. Listed are residence hall staff members, security officers, the Student Services Office, the Mahaska County Hospital, and the Oskaloosa Police Department. Also noted, all university personnel are mandatory reporters.
The two categories listed in the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for the sexual assault portion are Sexual Assault/Forcible and Sexual Assault/Non-Forcible. Tim Reynolds, Director of Security, explained the differences between forcible and non-forcible. Forcible sexual assault is where no consent is given whatsoever and is completely against the victim’s wishes. Where non-forcible is sexual assault that occurs after consent that had once been given is no longer given. In the duration of the last two years, 2014 and 2015, there has been one forcible sexual assault and one non forcible assault on campus.
This is the point where statistics and the reports become questionable. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, or RAINN, “11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students).” That is roughly 1 in 10 students experiencing rape or sexual assault. With right around 900 students in the College of Arts, Sciences and Professional Studies, the numbers published in the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report are seemingly low.
“I do not trust those numbers,” said current student Shana Lambirth. In a statistic from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “One in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.” However, in another of the stats, “More than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault.”
When an assault occurs at Penn and a report is made, security adheres to the following procedure according to Reynolds. First, they assess the degree of need for the victim. Whether that is seeking medical attention or include the local police department. Then they take the initial report, and follow the victim’s wishes, whether he/she wishes to take legal action or just report the incident to be recorded in the system, which will then show in the annual reports.
There are procedures and policies in place, ways to make students feel safe on campus, but from student perspective, what else could be done to increase the well-being of students?
“I’d like to see a therapist on campus, not only for people to use after sexual assault, college is stressful and I think it could benefit,” said Lambirth. Lambirth also suggested increased surveillance and security.
Noted in the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, William Penn University also conducts a “Sexual Awareness and Responsibility Week” early each spring. They team up with local agencies such as, Crisis Intervention Services, Mahaska Health Partnership, Southern Iowa Economic Development Association (S.I.E.D.A.), and host educational events to aide in the prevention of sexual assault.
During MVP training for Residence assistance and Community event coordinators watched this video Tea Consent
Stated on the school’s website, William Penn offers a counseling center to all students located in Dana M. Atkins Memorial Union on the second floor. The counseling center is open Tuesday through Thursday from 8 AM to 3 PM. School counselor Tyne Smith is also available through appointment by calling 641-673-1703 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, though walk-ins are welcome.
This video is something that was required for all RA’s, CEC’s and Hall directors to watch during there MVP training. Take a look at it!