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Sexual assault support more accessible

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Celene Vargas
Editorial Director

Students, staff and faculty now have better access to information and resources for victims of sexual misconduct.

Under the Current Students tab and the Faculty and Staff tab, there is a new link titled Sexual Misconduct Resources, which contains the school policy, contact information and reporting options as well as other information, such as resources for pregnant students.

“I wanted a webpage that was specifically for Title IX knowing, though, that not everyone knows what Title IX is,” said Monica Leger, the University’s employee relations and Title IX manager.

She said she had the page titled Sexual Misconduct Resources so the purpose of the page would be clear.

Before the change, the link was called Title IX. Title IX began as a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity, according to the United States Department of Justice. The interpretation has evolved to include sexual misconduct.

Leger also had the search box on the school’s site direct people to the webpage, whether they type in “sexual assault,” “rape,” “sexual misconduct” or “Title IX.” She is currently updating the policy.

As manager, Leger’s duties include making sure La Verne is in compliance with Title IX. She said she also personally trains students, faculty and staff, and has met with the athletics department and some fraternities and sororities.

“Online training helps to check a box, but I like to do things in person. I’ll go anywhere; I’ll go to a class to talk,” Leger said. “I think that one-on-one is better, where they can see me asking questions. My initiative is to continue to get my face out there.”

Leger said she also personally investigates some allegations of sexual misconduct, generally if it’s with an employee. Alleged sexual misconduct that occurs between students would be dealt with by investigators who work under the dean of students, like associate dean of students Juan Regalado.

Regalado said someone who comes forward to talk about experiencing sexual misconduct can expect the school to try to give as much respect and support as they can and can expect to be informed of their rights. He also has some advice for students who witness or know about sexual misconduct.

“They should not blame that person; they should encourage the person to report to the appropriate people so they can work with the individual in regards to resources, counseling, referrals and interventions,” Regalado said.

Students who experience sexual misconduct can do dual processes, meaning they can talk to someone on campus and go to the police since ULV investigates policy violations, while the police investigate crimes. But if a person just wants to talk, the school will not force them to go to the police.

“I do have some obligation to at least report sexual misconduct to the police, but I will withhold names unless the person expressly says, ‘Tell the police that I said this,’” Leger said.

If the police decides not to do anything with the case, that does not mean the school will not do anything either because they are investigating different things, Leger said.

Students can also go to the health center. Cynthia Denne, director of student health services and services for students with disabilities, said they will initially do an evaluation and make sure students have the resources they need to take the next step, which can vary depending on the situation and what the student wants.

ULV also has licensed clinical psychologists should someone be in need of one, which they can get through Counseling and Psychological Services.

“Sometimes students don’t want to take a next step, but you always want to make sure they have the support,” Denne said.

Celene Vargas can be reached at celene.vargas@laverne.edu.

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