Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Title IX changes not radical enough

In the last two weeks, Augustana has rolled out updates to the campus sexual assault policy, in response to Title IX concerns from the federal government.

In the updated Augie policy, repercussions faced by accused students will be “educational” in nature, not judicial or legal. Students are encouraged to report their assault to public authorities, so that legal and judicial repercussions for alleged perpetrators may be pursued.

This policy does not protect students. A reactive “educational” repercussion for students who commit sexual assault only protects the person – or as the incident report from  November 23 would indicate, the people – committing the assault, not the students who have been victims of sexual crimes.

The time to educate people about rape, sexual assault and consent is before a crime is committed, not in response to the crime.

The full range of possible sanctions that someone found guilty of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault are as follows, according to the Title IX website created by the college:

“The range of potential sanctions/corrective actions that may be imposed includes but is not limited to the following: written or verbal apology, discrimination or harassment education, verbal or written warning, probation, suspension, and dismissal from the College.”

This is an improvement on the vague policy we had before, which specified only a “separation” from the college as a possible disciplinary outcome.

However, this policy still leaves too many options that let perpetrators of sexual violence off the hook. Written or verbal apologies from an accused to an accuser may or may not be sincere. A written or verbal warning does not protect a victim from their attacker.

The updated policy is a distinct step in the right direction, but doesn’t go far enough.

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Title IX changes not radical enough