There have been many conversations this semester about sexual misconduct on campus. It began after an email was sent to students in September about an on-campus sexual assault. The email faced a lot of backlash and upset many students.
This semester, the American Studies program offered a #MeToo course, as a special topics class in race, gender and sexuality. The course was taught by Dr. Laura D'Amore, associate professor of American Studies. On Nov. 12 in the GHH Atrium, members of the class hosted "Dialogue and Dine." The event was also by hosted RWU’s Title IX Coordinator Dr. Jen Stanley and Vice President of Student Life John King.
With this event, students, professors and other faculty members were able to come together and have a conversation about these types of issues on campus. A mac and cheese bar, chicken tenders and mozzarella sticks were available to eat for those in attendance. There was a large turnout for the event, with the atrium filled with people and some seated on the other two floors of GHH.
The event started with an introduction of the students in the #MeToo class along with an introduction to the event. Students in the class were wearing black outfits with a ribbon pinned on their shirts. The ribbons had both purple and teal ribbons, symbolizing domestic violence awareness and sexual violence awareness, respectively. People attending the event were made aware of the different resources available to them throughout the night. Counselors from the RWU Counseling Center were there to support anyone who needed assistance. The topic of the night was heavy and Stanley urged people to practice self-care throughout the event.
Stanley and King were then introduced and spoke about what led up to the event happening, including the assault that occurred on campus in September. King addressed the contents of the email that had caused backlash. One of the big points of controversy in the email was including the location of the assault, as well as saying it happened during a Tinder date. He assured people that the university is legally required to include that information. He said the email was sent out because university officials believed it was an ongoing threat and other students may have been at risk.
Stanley showed a short presentation that included resources the school offers to increase education and prevention of sexual misconduct. She explained the type of training people have on campus, like incoming students taking an online course before coming to RWU. Ideas were also presented to have students take a similar course again when they go into their junior year, in order to keep people updated.
The next portion of the night was a Q&A with Stanley and King. People in the audience had an opportunity to ask questions about the email and prevention methods on campus.
There were a few questions concerning the punishment for those found responsible for sexual misconduct. When someone reports any kind of sexual misconduct, there is a process that begins where the survivor becomes the top priority and has a say in how far the process goes. In the case of the email being sent out earlier in the semester, the survivor was consulted about what information was added to the email.
“We want to give power back to the person who experienced it,” Stanley said regarding those who are victims of sexual misconduct.
Following the Q&A portion, people had the opportunity to learn more about different aspects of the night's topic. There were five breakout sessions in various rooms in GHH. These included consent 101, rape culture on college campuses, education and prevention at RWU, resources and self-care and spectrum of sexual violence. The night ended with a fifteen-minute debrief and share-out of what people learned during the smaller sessions.
- Bristol Police Department: (401) 253-6900 (24/7)
- Day One Sexual Assault and Trauma Resource Center: (401) 421-4100
Counseling Center: (401) 254-3124 | Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Public Safety: (401) 254-3333 (24/7)