Metropolitan State takes a stand against sexual violence

Over the past few months, Metropolitan State has been working to comply with federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination, including the requirements of the Title IX legislation.

According to Metropolitan State’s new sexual assault and violence prevention Web page:

  • The Title IX legislation applies to all aspects of academic programs, financial assistance and athletics, operated by recipients of federal financial assistance, as related to both education and employment.
  • The Title IX Act encompass actions that affect educational access and opportunities for students all, including sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, dating and intimate partner violence (dating and domestic violence).
  • Under the Title IX law the university has a duty to respond to acts of sexual violence, which includes providing information about reporting procedures, policy, support resources and campus contacts.

Together with President Obama’s 2014 Campus SaVE (Sexual Violence Elimination) Act, which intends to increase transparency on campuses about incidents of sexual assault, Metropolitan State has taken several steps to make sure that information and resources on sexual assault are available campus-wide.

These steps include creating an implementation team, identifying investigators and confidential resources, scheduling and performing effective responder training at the Saint Paul Campus, identifying sexual violence resource materials and creating a university Web page with resources and information about sexual assault.

The Title IX/SaVE Act implementation team has also been working to create a student-centered reporting model that includes a nonmandatory reporting option. “The committee,” said Herbert King, dean of students, in a recent Metropolitan State announcement, “felt this approach better positions us to create an environment within the university where individuals feel more comfortable coming forward to potentially report an incident.” This new reporting model consists of the following:

  1. Mandatory reporters: persons who are obligated to report incidents of sexual violence, such as campus security or other administrative officials
  2. Confidential reporters/sources: Metropolitan State’s counseling services department for students who want to connect with a confidential source. There is also a 24-hour crisis hotline, which students can reach at 651-793-1500. Students who call this hotline are connected with a trained counselor.
  3. Encouraged to report: persons who may have direct or indirect contact with students, such as faculty, staff or others. These individuals are encouraged but not required to report any incidents.
  4. Additional resource(s): Students can call the LGBTQA and Women’s Services coordinator at 651-793-1544, but the coordinator is not required to report.

Students can also formally report an incident of sexual assault at the new Web page.

In the coming months, Metropolitan State will continue to update their Web page and promote sexual assault awareness around campus. Students who would like to get involved are encouraged to participate in Project SAVE (Sexual Assault and Violence Education), a campus-based peer educator program coordinated by the Student Senate. Participants learn how to respond to any sexual violence that happens on campus as well as participate in programs that help to raise campus awareness and provide information on available campus resources. More information on this project can be found on Orgsync’s Project Sexual Assault and Violence Education page.