The Student Government Association hosted several guest speakers during Tuesday night’s meeting.
Marc Burnett, vice president of Student affairs; Ed Boucher, assistant vice president of Student Affairs and Title IX investigator; and Marlene Hall, Coordinator for Clery Compliance and Title IX came to the meeting to speak about sexual assault and relationship violence on Tech’s campus.
Title IX is a section of the Education Amendments of 1972 that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. The Clery Act requires universities to disclose safety information and impose basic requirements for handling incidents of sexual violence and emergency situations.
According to Burnett, there is a lot of misinformation on campus regarding sexual assault and violence. His goal is to clear up the misconception.
“We are trying to get away from hearsay; we are trying to gather facts and get students to follow through with their claims,” said Burnett.
Boucher then took to the podium to speak about what is happening on campus and what is being done to ensure the safety of students.
“What we are facing now is acquaintance rape,” said Boucher.
“The measures we took in the past to protect students, e.g., extra lightning on campus, emergency buttons, escorting students to their cars at night, are not as effective now. We are trying to make a change to deal with acquaintance rape.”
Boucher and his colleagues are working on ways to partner with students to gain a better understanding of what is going on in order to create a comfortable and safe environment for everyone on campus. According to Boucher, there are ways to deal with acquaintance rape, but only if the problem is made known to authorities.
In 2014, there was one reported sexual assault in a residence hall on campus, three reports of dating violence on campus, six reports of domestic violence on campus, and one report of stalking on campus, according to Hall.
“I have to say that Tech did a really good job over the last few months. … The thing that I was impressed by was how well the people were coming forward to us,” said Hall.
Hall said that, a lot of times, students do not think situations like those listed above are a “big deal.” Students believe that no one will be interested to hear about the problem or that someone else will report the problem. This assumption is false, however, according to Hall.
“We need to get students to report these things,” Hall said. “There is no such thing as a ‘cookie-cutter’ solution, especially when you are talking about issues as sensitive as these.”
The SGA is prepared to partner with Hall, Boucher and Burnett to educate students on sexual violence in order to make campus as safe as possible.
“We have talked to Marlene about having a panel open to all students,” said SGA President Emily McDonald. “There are a lot of misconceptions on campus, and we want to make sure students are well-informed and know what to do and who to contact if a situation arises.”
DPhiE representatives Lindsey Carp and Andrea Alhadari also spoke at the SGA meeting. Carp and Alhadari shared information regarding DPhiE recruitment, which is going on this week, and the pair encouraged women in leadership in SGA who are not already affiliated with a Greek organization to come out to DPhiE recruitment.
Shabir Bhegani, a civil engineering major at Tech, also announced that the Minority President’s Council would be hosting a panel-style forum Thursday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. in conjunction with the Multicultural Affairs Office. All students are invited to attend.
SGA will hold its next meeting Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 9:15 p.m. in the Tech Pride Room in Roaden University Center.