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SARAs, SGA educate students on sexual misconduct

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SARAs, SGA educate students on sexual misconduct

by Kayla Reusche, Staff Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — The Sexual Assault Response Advocates and the Student Government Association informed about 50 audience members of the college’s policies on sexual misconduct at a forum held Jan. 16 in Hubbell Hall.

The event began with a report explaining 47 violations of the sexual misconduct policy at Simpson in the past year. None of these reports went to a hearing, and not all of them resulted in disciplinary action, said Rich Ramos, the Title IX coordinator.

The number of violations consistently rises each year, but Ramos said this can be seen as a positive.

“While it’s a negative sort of thing, it’s a positive that hopefully we’re creating an environment where people know that it’s OK to come forward and report anything that happened,” Ramos said.

Junior SARA Liz Nimmo echoed Ramos.

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“While it seems like a negative thing that the complaints have increased in the past years, I also think it’s a good thing because it shows that survivors finally feel safe coming forward with their story,” Nimmo said. “I think it definitely shows that we’re creating a safer campus environment.”

The high number of incidents came as a shock to freshman Brynna Bowman, a business management major, but she said the rising number isn’t a concern for her.

“Especially because the media is showing it more, I think that’s why more people are feeling comfortable reporting it,” Bowman said.

Ellie Olson, director of counseling services, followed with information regarding sexual assault victims and how to support them.

“I think sometimes we have this idea in our head about what a victim looks like. It’s someone who’s crying and someone who’s upset about what’s happened to them,” Olson said.

But no one responds in the exact same way.

“All reactions are pretty normal. We all deal with trauma differently,” she said.

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Olson said supporting a sexual assault victim can be challenging, but encouraging them to seek help while letting them remain in control is important.

“In the end, as a friend, you are not the best person to be supporting them through this,” she said. “There are professionals on campus and off campus that have more experience.”

Confidential resources on campus are counseling services, health services, the college chaplain and SARA. All other campus employees must report incidents to Ramos.

Once an incident is reported, the Title IX process begins with a preliminary investigation where as much information as possible is gathered to see if the case should move forward with a hearing.

If it goes to a hearing, three faculty members from the Sexual and Relationship Misconduct Review Board will make a decision regarding the accused student.

Typical sanctions for a student found responsible of a charge of sexual or relationship misconduct varies from a warning to expulsion, according to Simpson’s website.

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