By Aliyah Kiesler
For those of you who may not know the full story, Brock Allen Turner was a member of the swim team at Stanford University. He was raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster when two graduate students found them, chased him, and held him down until the cops came. Even though it was very clear what had happened, he pleaded not guilty of a list of felony charges which included: rape of an intoxicated person, attempted rape, rape of an unconscious person, sexual penetration of an intoxicated woman and sexual penetration of an unconscious woman. Later he attended a hearing at which it was decided to drop two of the charges and to still stay in trial for the other three. On March 30, 2016, Turner was found not guilty of raping the woman. The maximum amount of time that they would have sent him to prison for was 10 years and while the prosecutors were fighting for six years, he got off with a six month sentence and a three year long probation. Finally, after three months of him being in prison, Turner was released for “good behavior.” This has caused a nationwide and campus uproar.
On Drew University’s campus, there are several steps and actions that are taken when a rape is reported. Emily Ralph, the Title IX Coordinator for this campus, said that her “initial goal after a report of sexual assault would be to discuss options for responding to their complaint or concern.” This is when she would discuss resources on campus for the victim like the counseling services, as an example. She then would give the reporting person or people information on how they could move forward. Since she, along with faculty, staff, Orientation Committee and Resident Assistants are mandated reporters, she might have to start a formal fact finding process, depending on the information given to her. Although, this would only happen in rare cases when the perpetrator is “a repeat offender or an ongoing danger to the victim,” Title IX keeps record of every incident, with perpetrators who are visitors and students, so they will know if this is the case. William Ortman, the Safety Director for Drew University says that cases on campus are treated very differently than criminal justice cases off campus. Many victims wait weeks or even months to say something because they are worried and they get embarrassed about their friends, family, or faculty getting involved, especially if alcohol or drugs were involved. Then it would be very difficult to follow through if there is a complaint, but not impossible. When the victim does decide to come forward, they may choose to report to a coach, residence life personnel, nurse or health center employee, counselor, faculty member, the police, or public safety. If one reports directly to Public Safety, they will get you in contact with the Title IX Coordinator. The ideal interviewer would be a senior investigator who has training with sexual assault cases. William then said “I have three to four such officers in my department and I have been certified as a Title IX investigator.”
The Title IX Office is in charge of providing education on the issues that Title IX and the Sexual Misconduct Policy and they are also in charge of having prevention education programs and programs that Title IX stands for for everyone on campus, this includes healthy relationships, stalking and sexual violence to name a few. Other Universities in the United States have federal funding and go along with the Title IX rules and guidelines from the Office of Civil Rights and VAWA reauthorization act of 2014.
“If an individual has questions about the response process or what resources are available on campus, they are welcome to meet with me to ask questions without disclosing details about their experience. Resources are available regardless of whether a formal report of sexual harassment or sexual assault is made. The Title IX Coordinator can be reached in the EC 133 or at (973) 408-3635 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org“