Col­lege, cen­ter en­ter into agree­ment to im­prove sex­ual as­sault re­sponse



— Ce­cil Col­lege and the Ce­cil County Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence and Rape Cri­sis Cen­ter have signed an agree­ment to work to­gether to im­prove the over­all re­sponse to sex­ual as­sault at the col­lege.

The me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing, which was signed on April 19, for­mal­izes a part­ner­ship between the cam­pus and the cen­ter that has ex­isted for sev­eral years. But un­der Ti­tle IX, a com­pre­hen­sive fed­eral law that pro­hibits dis­crim­i­na­tion on the ba­sis of sex in any fed-


er­ally funded ed­u­ca­tion or ac­tiv­ity, the col­lege and the cen­ter are re­quired to put their re­la­tion­ship in writ­ing, said Anne Bean, the cen­ter’s co­or­di­na­tor of fam­ily vi­o­lence pro­grams.

The agree­ment will also al­low the cen­ter to bet­ter help Ce­cil Col­lege stu­dents and staff by giv­ing them a bet­ter idea of what sex­ual as­saultre­lated re­sources are avail­able, Bean added.

“It’s a group of peo­ple who fall into that high-risk cat­e­gory of 16 to 24 (years old),” she said. “It just gives us bet­ter ac­cess to peo­ple who are apt to ex­pe­ri­ence (sex­ual as­sault).”

Two ser­vices of­fered through the agree­ment that Bean said stu­dents should be par­tic­u­larly aware of are the 24-hour hot­line and the free coun­sel­ing ser­vices. The rape cri­sis hot­line is avail­able to both stu­dents and staff and peo­ple can get help anony­mously, she added.

Stu­dents can also ac­cess free and con­fi­den­tial coun­sel­ing through the hot­line, Bean said. Since many stu­dents may still be on their par­ents’ health care plan, this ser­vice al­lows col­lege stu­dents to get coun­sel­ing for free with­out in­volv­ing their par­ents, she added.

In ad­di­tion to these ser­vices, the cen­ter will also help train col­lege staff and con­tinue to give pre­sen­ta­tions around cam­pus about top­ics re­lat­ing to sex­ual as­sault such as healthy re­la­tion­ships and how to be an em­pow­ered by­stander, Bean said.

Cathy Skel­ley, the col­lege’s co­or­di­na­tor of stu­dent sup­port and con­duct and its deputy Ti­tle IX co­or­di­na­tor, said the MOU builds on a re­la­tion­ship with the cen­ter that started about four years ago when she at­tended a train­ing ses­sion at the cen­ter.

Since then, the cen­ter has held in­for­ma­tional pro­grams at the col­lege, cre­ated bul­letin boards on cam­pus and, start­ing this aca­demic year, the cen­ter’s out­reach co­or­di­na­tor has been on cam­pus ev­ery other week to meet with stu­dents and staff, Skel­ley said.

In the last sev­eral years, Bean said she has seen aware­ness of sex­ual as­sault and sex­ual as­sault re­sources im­prove but ac­knowl­edges that in­creas­ing aware­ness takes time.

“It’s a process,” she said. “I think peo­ple need to get used to the ser­vices be­ing there.”

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