Indiana State University offers many resources regarding sexual assault, but some feel that not enough is being done.
According to the 2018 annual Security and Fire Safety report at ISU, there were 34 on-campus rapes, zero statutory rapes, 29 cases of fondling, and 74 cases of dating violence between the years of 2015-2017.
“Sexual assault could involve a faculty member, a staff member, or another student,” Title IX coordinator Stephanie Gambill said.
Reporting a case of sexual assault is an extensive process. It starts with going through the Title IX guidelines that pertain to the person’s situation, follows with interviews, and ends with the decision made by three randomly selected panelists.
“There are very strict guidelines that we follow in this process to make sure that everyone is treated the same and has the same opportunities,” said Gambill.
However, once someone is found “responsible” or “not responsible” through a university, it is up to the institution’s Office of Records and Registration to put that on the student’s transcript because it is not a criminal case.
There is no law in place that makes it mandatory for these steps to be executed; therefore, a student found responsible can transfer to another university and no one would ever know. The student could continue to engage in the same inappropriate behavior. This is a worry for many sexual assault survivors.
“There is a range of disciplinary sanctions available for individuals determined to be responsible for a policy violation of sexual violence, with the most severe sanction being expulsion from ISU,” Gambill said.
Some students feel as though justice has not been served to their offenders. I personally know many women on campus who simply have to live with the fact that their offenders get to walk away with a free pass.
“I personally felt very brushed away by Title IX,” said an ISU sophomore who wished to remain anonymous.
The student reported their incident about seven months after it had happened and was told that nothing could be done about it because their offender did not go to ISU and it had been too long.
“The case never got finalized because he went to Rose Hulman. I would’ve loved to see more happen,” said the student.
For many victims of sexual assault, this is a common worry. They fear that if their offender does not go to the same school or if they wait too long, nothing will be done. Another former student at ISU went through a similar process.
“When this case was brought up to Title IX, they didn’t believe anything. I had the forensic evidence, the pictures, and the texts from the person,” said the former student.
Because nothing was done about both of these events, the students feared for their safety when walking around campus.
In addition to RAVE Alerts on cell phones, the university head created about 60 of the blue emergency poles placed sporadically across campus. Some may also see that many of these do not work and take up space that could be used for more parking or more green space. They are placed in dark, remote areas as a safety precaution for students.
“The Emergency Blue Light poles are checked monthly. With this said though, it should be noted that this equipment is over 20-years-old and upkeep of the units becomes more and more complex. Many of the parts needed are not readily available anymore,” Chief of Police Joseph Newport said.
Chief Newport also said a new security system, which was not greatly elaborated on, is in place, but has not been completed. Overall, it ended with a cost of two million dollars.
Supposedly, plans to upgrade this equipment is a top priority of the university. It will replace the blue poles, but it is a very timely and expensive process. ISU is attempting to make further enhancements to benefit students and their surroundings regarding sexual assault and safety, according to Newport.
During the Brock Turner case, many were devastated when a man in college explicitly raped two women and got away with only three months of jail time. Many accused the judge of having let Turner off because of his class, race, and sex.
This brings to the forefront of how accountable we are holding people for what they do and have done.
Recently, the MeToo movement has skyrocketed in supporting and uplifting women to come forward about the tragedies they have had to endure as sexual assault victims.
I think more initiatives like this should be taken on college campuses to help support victims of sexual assault; and there are some resources ISU has implemented to do so.
It’s On Blue is a course designed to take ISU students to the next level regarding sexual assault by education, training, and programs regarding the subject.
There is also an event that happens every spring called, “Walk a mile in her shoes” when men walk a mile in high heels to try and get a glimpse of what it might be like to be a woman.
Although these are great initiatives, but I think more can be done and administrators should be more involved in ensuring students feel safe no matter what environment they are in.