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Op-Ed: It takes all of us

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One of the most pressing problems facing college campuses around the country is addressing sexual assault allegations head-on. We are writing today to share the extensive ways our campus and dedicated staff have bolstered our support services, reporting policies and training programs over the past several years.

First and foremost, our counselors and advocates are dedicated to supporting all victims. It takes immense courage for students to step forward. That first step is crucial so that they can seek both support and justice. Marquette University formed its Title IX office in 2015 to make it easier to do just that, and our 24/7 on-call professional team is always ready to help protect victims. When we opened this office, we created new, stronger Title IX policies and procedures, which were reviewed and approved by the United States Office for Civil Rights in fall 2015. We urge any victim to come forward so that they can begin to get the help and care they need.

Second, well before the Marquette University Police Department became a commissioned police department, when it previously served as the Department of Public Safety, the department strictly followed reporting protocols around sexual assault. These protocols were put in place in 2011 when the United States Government issued a “Dear Colleague” letter outlining recommended procedures for universities. The protocols include reporting all sexual assault allegations to the sensitive crime unit of the Milwaukee Police Department. MUPD continued this practice after becoming a police department in 2015 and works in conjunction with MPD on all sexual assault cases.

Students have many open doors for which they can report a sexual assault. They can report to MUPD, MPD or the Title IX office. And, if a student chooses not to file a report or request a Title IX investigation, we want them to know that we will always provide them both university and off-campus resources. Students can visit our Counseling Center in the second floor of Holthusen Hall, and in addition, we’ve instituted sexual assault advocacy services (on the fourth floor of the Alumni Memorial Union). These services provide immediate and ongoing support and assistance for victims of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking or sexual harassment.

Lastly, every incoming freshman received online training focused on sexual assault prevention before ever officially stepping foot on campus as a Marquette University student. Many first- and second-year students already have received campus-wide training for both sexual assault education as well as bystander intervention training. Many others will go through the training this week. Why have we instituted this intensive face-to-face training for all 8,000 of our undergraduate students for the past three years? The answer is simple: because it takes all of us. And why do we conduct this in-person training within the first four weeks of when students arrive on campus? Far too often, first-year women are the most vulnerable to assault in the first month of the school year.

Even one instance of a sexual assault is too many. Please watch out for each other and help anyone around you in need. And, please know that our team of professionals is always here to help.

Sincerely,

Christine Taylor, J.D., Title IX coordinator
Paul Mascari, chief of police
Dr. Stephanie Quade, dean of students
Dr. Xavier Cole, vice president of student affairs

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