Jumping to Action

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Photo illustration by Allison Simon

Sexual assault leads to campus-wide training

by Noah Merrell | Design Director

With two sexual assaults reported and investigated within weeks of the start of the 2017 school year, Title IX Coordinator Sherri Conard, along with the school, worked to ensure the safety of their students.

Vice President of Student Services, Bill Rinkenbaugh, pushed for students to be more informed about rape and sexual assault to help keep students safe.

“We have continued to work with our online provider as well as sending an email out from Conard for all activity students and first year students to participate in the online Title IX training on sexual assault, sexual violence, and campus safety,” Rinkenbaugh says.

Although there was a push for information to be spread across the student body, some students were wanting more.

“I feel like they should be more in your face about it,” freshman Samantha Silva says. “It feels like they do not talk about it to keep a good image.”

To help students get informed about how to stay safe, a Title IX class was adjusted and pushed for more students to take.

The class was originally only mandatory for freshmen, but was made mandatory for all students staying in the residence halls, participating in activity programs and the entire
freshman class.

Along with the class, some teachers have also tried to inform their students on how to stay safe.

“The class has helped and teachers have informed us,” freshman Morgan Rutledge says. “They tell us to stay in groups I am in Headliners [choir group] and the guys even walk us to our cars or dorms after practice.”

Rinkenbaugh says he applauds the efforts taken by these teachers.

Some students, however, believe making the class mandatory is unnecessary and think the class will not stop these incidents from taking place.

“There is always something that could happen to you even if you take the class, so I think it is unnecessary to make it mandatory,” freshman Dalton Smith says.

The Butler police force has also gotten involved with spreading the word on how to react in these situations.

“Since these events we have worked with Bill Rinkenbaugh to get the knowledge out there,” Chief Jason Kenney says.

Along with the new information, students have been wanting a more efficient way to contact the department in an emergency.

“The school should provide some kind of protection like a rape whistle or a universal call for help other than 911,” Rutledge says.

The police force has several different ways to contact them all over campus.

There are phones stationed around campus that call directly to either 911 or the station and a number that calls directly to them, but Chief Jason Kenney still reminds that 911 is always available.

“The station is right downtown and they are tied to us through radio,” Kenney says. “Whatever crime it is it gets dispatched to us.”

There is an officer available on campus 24 hours a day and they are always ready to jump into action.

Rinkenbaugh says that although in his 26 years he has only seen five incidents similar to this one, he takes it seriously and wants to improve the overall safety on campus.

“We want to eliminate rape,” Rinkenbaugh says. “It has no place on a college campus. Everybody has a right to feel safe and everyone has a right to a safe educational environment, and that is our goal.”

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