January 18, 2023
To the University Community:
Today, a group of students organized a protest concerning incidents of sexual assault on campus. The protest was borne out of a Student Government Association (SGA) student-only meeting held last evening at which several students talked about their own experiences and what they felt was inaction by the University. After the protest, I spent time with the SGA and several of the students involved in the demonstration. I applaud them all, and I appreciated the opportunity to listen and really hear their concerns directly.
Any feeling on the part of our students that their University does not see, hear, feel, or validate them or any trauma that they experience is unacceptable and will be addressed. In addition to educating them, our highest priorities are our students’ physical safety, individual well-being, psychological health, and individual freedom.
As you all know, unfortunately, sexual assault is all too common on college campuses; among adults, sexual assault happens most often to traditionally college-age women (18–24 years of age). Colleges like ours that receive federal funding are required to publicly report sexual assault (Office of Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2021). And in accordance with the federal law called the Clery Act, the University has a responsibility to report campus crime data. That report can be found here: https://www.desu.edu/sites/flagship/files/document/31/annual_security_and_fire_report.pdf.
We are taking our students’ concerns very seriously, and in conjunction with the SGA, we have scheduled a Town Hall for Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 6 p.m. in the EH Theatre. I have also asked Dr. Gwendolyn Scott-Jones, Wesley College of Health and Behavioral Sciences Dean and Executive Director of the University’s Trauma Academy, to collaborate with a broad coalition of our students, the University Counseling Center, University Police and the University’s Title IX office to develop sexual assault awareness activities and interventions for our entire University community.
In addition to the Counseling Center, I also want to make sure that everyone is aware of our 24-hour nursing hotline at 1-866-315-8756 for confidential healthcare advice or information. For those who have experienced a sexual assault, you can submit a formal report at titleIX@desu.edu or reach out to the Title IX Coordinator, Ms. Mijrane Belizaire, directly. She can be reached at 302-857-6374.
To our students, I encourage you to continue to voice your concerns and to proactively be allies for each other.
Tony Allen, Ph.D.
Categories: Campus News
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