Sexual assault on college campuses has long been a nationwide problem. Queens University of Charlotte is one of many schools attempting to do something about it.
In fall of 2017, Queens issued a Campus Climate survey, gathering data on sexual misconduct within the college environment. The research has been impactful to making changes within the campus in the hopes of creating a safer, healthier, and more inclusive culture at Queens.
Fifty percent of Queens students saw sexual misconduct as a problem at other schools, while only 10 percent saw it as a problem here at Queens. The survey tool used in the research is unique to Queens, so the results can’t be compared to other schools. Amber Perrell, the Title IX Deputy Coordinator for Queens, stated that this survey is planned to be repeated every two years in order to build and understand data.
At Queens, freshman receive a plethora of information and education on sexual misconduct, but the results have shown that by senior year there is a serious drop off in Title IX awareness. In fact, only 55 percent of the Queens population know where to go for confidential support. Due to this information gap, Perrell stated that the university is going to be continuing a climate survey task force and will adding an upperclassmen program, called ‘Campus Leaders for Title IX,’ which will be a refresher course that is similar to the required freshmen program, ‘Not Anymore.’
LGBTQ+ students are three times more likely to experience sexual assault. Perrell, can not pinpoint why LGBTQ+ are a more targeted community, “it’s hard, they’re a very marginalized population,” she said.
The Title IX staff at Queens plan to continue their effort to help students. They are going to carry on holding safe zone training inspired by Stop Abuse for Everyone (SAFE), to educate staff and students on the LGBTQ+ community when it comes to domestic violence situations.
Perrell has been the Title IX Deputy Coordinator for two years at Queens and is getting directly involved in the university’s push to establish a more centralized Title IX team. “I enjoy being able to help students in these very serious situations,”she said.
When a sexual misconduct case takes place involving a Queens student, the entire school is notified through email. Many questions have been raised as to why this is the case; whether it is to alarm the students, inform the campus, or both. Perrell addressed this by bringing up the Clery Law, a national and federal requirement, which requires universities to report any type of crime, including Title IX violations. “We are required by Clery to report any types of sexual assault… as well as dating violence,” said Perrell.
The warnings are used to alert students to the dangers of sexual misconduct. Nearly all cases reported deal directly between two acquaintances, not involving a stranger; 50 percent of sexual assault perpetrators were fellow students. What Queens wants students to get out of the alerts is not to fear or to be paranoid, but rather learn and be aware of the Title IX conduct.
Anyone interested in joining the climate survey task force can contact Amber Perrell directly through her email- firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone who has experienced a sexual misconduct violation should contact campus police, any RA, or Amber Perrell directly.