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.”