Sexual Assault Response Update
An update on Whitman College’s efforts to address the issue of sexual assault on campus, September 2016
- A dedicated Sexual Assault Victims Advocate (SAVA), Hailey Powers, has been hired. She is an employee of the YWCA, not of Whitman College, following national best practices. This allows for complete impartiality for the SAVA and separation from campus Title IX claims. The SAVA is in no way involved in Whitman College Title IX claims; instead the SAVA is meant to be a source of information and support for students who identify as victims of sexual assault, regardless of whether or not the student decides to make a claim, or even whether the assault occurred at Whitman. To that end, the SAVA is not a mandated reporter. Twenty hours of the SAVA's will be spent on Whitman’s campus, with an office in Hunter Conservatory room 406 that allows for privacy and anonymity. The phone number and email are (509) 526-3032 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We re-affirm that the counseling center is available for any person involved in a Title IX claim – claimants, respondents, and witnesses – who feel they need emotional support and counseling about their experience with the Title IX claim process. The counseling center will offer support groups on this topic if there is enough interest.
- We have dedicated a student internship position to coordinate among the various student groups which address the topic of sexual assault in order to promote greater unity and focus among these student groups on issues of common interest, such as consent education.
- We also will continue to have student interns in Student Affairs who are focused on alcohol and sexual violence prevention. These interns fall under the new title of Consent and Alcohol Safety Advocates (CASA). The current version of the Sexual Violence Prevention program run through the sororities and fraternities will not be continued. An alternative proposal is currently under development, under the auspices of the CASA program.
- We have reviewed and revised our procedures for recruiting and training process advisors, who function as resources to both claimants and respondents in a Title IX claim in order to ensure that these process advisors are effective in offering information and support. Training of the process advisors will be completed by mid-September. All claimants and respondents will be assigned a process advisor in order to ensure that they understand and are supported through the process. This is in addition to any personal advisor or attorney that a claimant or respondent may choose to bring with them.