Editorial: UConn needs a procedure to report rape on campus
Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 23:02
Since the Title IX complaint was filed last October, the university administration has finally issued a formal response. On Monday, the official answer of the administration to allegations of mishandling cases of sexual assault was filed in U.S. District Court as a legal denial. According to the Hartford Courant, UConn admitted it lacked, “sufficient information to admit or deny” many of the charges lobbied against them by five UConn students, but did deny allegations of UConn employees knowing of a rape and failing to do their jobs as well as allegations of UConn police officers making insensitive remarks and not providing sufficient information to victims.
One of its chief issues with the lawsuit was the “failure [of the plaintiffs] to sufficiently exhaust her administrative remedies,” as reported by The Daily Campus. Looking at the resources UConn suggests, it would appear one can speak with Counseling and Mental Health Services, UConn Police Department, Office of Student Services and Advocacy, Office of Community Standards, Office of Diversity and Equity, Women’s Center, Student Health Services and Department of Residential Life to address issues regarding sexual assault.
The UConn Police Department handles the legal process; Student Health Services takes care of the medical side. Counseling and Mental Health Services will assist with crisis intervention and therapy. The Office of Diversity and Equity investigates discrimination and sexual harassment; the Title IX Coordinator also hails here. The Office of Student Services and Advocacy takes care of one’s “academic and personal concerns that arise after an assault,” according to UConn’s Sexual Violence webpage. The Women’s Center is a general resource on information for survivors. The Office of Community Standards is in charge of violations of the Student Code, which includes sexual assault.
The issue with this is two-fold. Firstly, many of these resources are not advertised and, outside of orientation, there really isn’t an effort to make this array of resources known to students. So if a sexual assault happens, the student may have no idea of where to go or what each individual service offers. Secondly, there needs to be clear and orderly university protocal for how to handle cases of sexual assault. With a clear starting point, students will have a better idea of where to go. Streamlining the process should also allow for the above resources to work in tandem rather than as individual bodies, giving victims more comprehensive and methodical assistance in handling legal procedures as well as personal health and well-being.