By Tim Keene ‘19
In light of the Harvey Weinstein scandal running rampant through Hollywood over the past few weeks people will take a second to think about what they can do if they find themselves in a similar situation on Merrimack’s campus.
Merrimack College has a network in place called M.A.V.E.N. or Merrimack Anti-Violence Education Network, taken from the web link, “The Merrimack Anti-Violence Education Network (MAVEN) website was created to act as a centralized resource of information, policies and resources for prevention and education. Here, you will find the college’s policy on sexual misconduct, relationship violence and stalking, as well as reporting options, an outline of college procedures and medical and counseling services.” The Merrimack College Title IX website also details each and every policy pertaining to sexual discrimination, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault and much, much more in the name of protecting the student body.
First off, what is Title IX? Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from sex discrimination in educational programs and activities at institutions that receive federal financial assistance. What Title IX requires is deputies that actively carry out the responsibilities presented under Title IX. These responsibilities include, track and monitor incidents, including sex discrimination and sexual misconduct, Frame an efficient and effective college response to each complaint, where appropriate, conduct investigations of particular situations, provide leadership as it relates to programming and training in these areas. The deputies in charge of carrying out the colleges commitment to Title IX are, Title IX Coordinator, Kara Hockmeyer, Police Chief Mike DelGreco, and Assistant Dean, Campus Life, Allison Gill.
Other important information is when should you use these contacts. If you wish to understand your options if you think you may have encountered sex discrimination or sexual misconduct, or learn of a situation that you feel may warrant a college investigation and want help on how to handle a situation by which you are indirectly affected, seek guidance on possible informal remedies. Also, make sure to get in contact with the people above if you wish to seek administrative measures to de-escalate or alleviate a difficult situation or have questions about Merrimack’s policies and procedures.
Outlined on the website there are the schools definitions of consent, domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, rape, and a separate link to the student handbook that includes these definitions and the policies that correspond to them. If you or someone you know finds themselves in one of these situations here is a list of contacts from Merrimack’s Title IX website:
- The Merrimack College Police Department sexual assault investigators (978-837-5911)
- Counselors at the Hamel Health and Counseling Center,
- Residence Life staff (resident directors, area coordinators)
- Campus ministers
- Dean of Students
- Assistant Dean of Students for Wellness/ Director of Community Standards
- The Assistant Director of Community Standards
What is further detailed in the “How to get Help” tab is what happens when going to each resource and how they handle the information given to them. One avenue for reporting incidents is the non confidential option, taken from the Title IX website, “Survivors are encouraged to speak to college officials who can help them make formal reports and generate investigations of incidents, including the Dean of Students, Assistant Dean of Students for Wellness, Office of Community Standards, Residence Life and the Merrimack College Police Department. Formal reports made to the college will be investigated and pursued through the Student Conduct process. Formal reports are not strictly confidential; however, only college officials who need details of the incident in order to pursue the Student Conduct process will be notified.”
The contact for Hamel Health and Counseling Center is 978-837-5441. There are also off campus options, National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-HOPE, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, 1-800-841-8371, YWCA of Greater Lawrence, 1-877-509-9922. There is information on the website for what to do if you would like to help a friend, located in the “Bystander Intervention” tab, the information in these situations is very powerful but what is more powerful is being the person that helps the survivor through a very tough time.
An article in the November 10 edition of The Beacon entitled “Title IX Campus Resources” incorrectly stated that Hamel Health “recommends using the non-confidential route” for survivors of sexual assault and misconduct. No staff at Hamel Health & Counseling offered this opinion. Hamel provides confidential care and will support a student survivor in whatever choice they make to report or not report, either immediately or in the future. Survivors should know that they can speak to a clinician at Hamel without concern that information will be shared with other offices on campus.