Colleges nationwide are required to have policies that deal with discrimination based on gender, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. There are two main laws that address these problems: the Clery Act (updated by the Campus SaVE Act), which requires colleges to report crimes, and Title IX, which deals with gender based discrimination. If colleges want to receive any federal funding, it is required that they abide by these laws.
The Clery Act requires all colleges to publish an annual security report, to have a public crime log, to disclose crime statistics for any incidents that occur on campus, in areas that are directly adjacent to campus, and at some non-campus facilities (such as Greek housing). These statistics are gathered from campus police or security, law enforcement, and other school officials. The Clery Act also requires that a campus issue warnings about crimes covered in the Clery Act which pose a serious and/or ongoing threat. However, statistics that are released under the Clery Act only reflect the numbers which are reported, and therefore can be inaccurate, due to the fact that many sexual crimes go unreported. At Mines, the numbers in the last couple of years have been between zero and two. These numbers are possibly inaccurate and not very enlightening because these are only the crimes that are reported, not necessarily all the crimes that occurred.
The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act updates the Clery Act. It essentially covers violence that occurs on campuses against women. This includes domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. All of this is required to be disclosed in an annual campus crime statistic report. Under the SaVE act, people reporting victimization are provided with written rights. Campuses are also required to adopt student discipline procedures, including notifying victims of their rights. Campuses also have to have policies to address and prevent campus sexual violence. The Campus SaVE Act was updated early in 2014.
Title IX has also been updated in the past year. Originally passed in 1972, Title IX requires that no one, on the basis of sex, should be discriminated against, excluded from, or denied the benefits of any educational program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. It is essentially gender equity in the area of education. There are ten areas that are addressed by Title IX: access to higher education, career education, education for pregnant and parenting students, employment, learning environment, math and science, sexual harassment, standardized testing, technology, and sports.
In May 2012, the Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment was issued at Mines. This policy covered both sexual violence and assault. It has been updated to be the Policy Prohibiting Gender-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Violence. It was amended August 29, 2014 to comply with new federal policies. With the additional guidance from Title IX and the updates to the Campus SaVE Act, there are now more requirements for campuses to keep all students safe. The content of the new policy is not very different than the old one, but there is more concerning gender discrimination and addressing it. Gender discrimination is defined as treating someone in a negative way because of that person’s gender (or the person’s gender identity or expression). Sexual harassment is considered a form of gender discrimination and allegations involving sexual harassment are covered by the Mines policy. The policy also covers sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. It also has the potential to cover domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking because those crimes can be considered sexual violence. The full policy can be found here: http://inside.mines.edu/POGO-Student
There are two procedures in place to address sexual harassment and sexual assault complaints, one for employees and third parties and one for students. The procedures will remain in effect, but the school is in the process of revising both procedures. As of October 20, 2014, the Department of Education published final regulations regarding requirements for sexual assault procedures. The school is revising both procedures so that they are compliant with the regulations and also clear and understandable to the school’s community. The deadline to update the regulations is July 1, 2015, but the school intends to have new procedures in place before that deadline.
There will be changes to the procedures, but the reporting aspects will probably not have very many changes. There are multiple ways to file a complaint (such as filing a criminal complaint with appropriate law enforcement agencies). One of the possible options for reporting sexual assault is to fill out an Anonymous Sexual Violence Reporting Form. However, very few people fill out these forms because it is hard to make it anonymous and turn it in directly. There is also the option to file an official criminal complaint. The Department of Public Safety will not release any identifying information to the media/public if a criminal complaint is filed. Right now, filing a criminal report (with Mines Public Safety) and filing charges through the Code of Conduct are two ways of regaining control and holding the perpetrator accountable. If a person wants assistance on making a decision on whether or not to file criminal or school charges, there are very few resources available right now, so the process mainly goes through one or two people on campus. With changes to procedures, this may change.
To report or talk about gender discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, or any other sexual crime, there are two confidential sources on campus, the Health Center and the Counseling Center. If sexual assault, harassment, or violence is reported to any other person of authority on campus, they are required to report it. With these new policies in place and with changes to the reporting procedures coming in the near future, hopefully the number of sexual crimes on campus will drop lower and it will be easier to report sexual crimes if they do occur.