For all of you that missed last Tuesday’s brown bag, be glad I’m here to tell you about it!
Let’s start with definitions.
What is Title IX? It is the federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on one’s sex, in educational programs and activities that receive federal funds.
What is the Dear Colleague Letter?
It is a letter rendering responsibility of institutions of higher education "to take immediate and effective steps to end sexual harassment and sexual violence.” The letter illustrates multiple examples of Title IX requirements as they relate to sexual violence, and makes clear that, should an institution fail to fulfill its responsibilities under Title IX, the Department of Education can impose a fine and potentially deny further institutional access to federal funds.
Civil rights organizations maintain that "when students suffer sexual assault and harassment, they are deprived of equal and free access to an education." Sexual violence is a crime and should be dealt with accordingly.
So, the key question here is, what is our beloved institution- Colgate, doing to adhere to these laws?
During this brown bag, we had a panel of resourceful campus staff- Val Brogan, Meika Loe, Nancy Ries, Lynn Rugg and Kim Taylor that discussed the different levels of sexual misconduct simply to shed more light on the different kinds of assault creating more awareness and understanding of this issue. Any sexual activity in the absence of consent is harassment and should be reported immediately. This group of people are here to help us all. Sexual assault happens on this campus and should you be a victim or a friend of a victim please speak out. The school has various resources on how to get help in case you have been abused, or how to help a friend that has been abused. You can even fill out an anonymous tip form if you do not want to disclose your identity. Make sure to check out Colgate University sexual assault resources for useful information on how to deal with sexual assault at Colgate.
Finally and most importantly, we as individuals need to know what consent really means. If we all understood what it was then sexual violence would be a problem in the past. Making sure that an individual clearly and voluntarily agrees to participate in a sexual activity makes consent valid. So if you receive but’s, maybe’s, sorta, kinda type of responses from the other party that means no and therefore do not proceed to try and have sex with them. You can be hopeful and try again another time but really, no means no. It can wait. Silence does not give consent.
Gloria Kebirungi '15