A Place To Turn – Reporting Options Give Students 24 Hour Access
Baylor’s commitment to student safety means being available 24 hours a day. When a student is victimized by sexual or interpersonal violence, it is vital that resources and support are available right away. Recognizing that each student is different, Baylor University and Baylor’s Title IX Office provides many methods for students to report incidents of sexual violence, as well as information about resources that offer individualized support and care.
“We want to provide students with the help they need promptly, to let them know what their rights are and connect them to the resources available to them,” Kristan Tucker, Baylor University Title IX Coordinator, said. “Because each student and each student’s situation is unique, we provide numerous 24-hour resources based on what’s best for them as an individual and based on what they’ve experienced.”
How to Report
For students reporting an incident of sexual violence, the Title IX website provides a simple place to begin. Under the “reporting” tab, students can find the main ways to report an incident—online reporting, anonymous online reporting and contact information to report in-person or by phone. These reports receive prompt attention from Title IX staff, who will respond via email or phone call with information about the student’s rights and available resources, and then find a time to visit with the student.
“Once we’ve corresponded over email, they come in and we talk to them about their options and rights, and present an investigative and resolution process,” Tucker said. “Even if they choose not to go through with those processes, we provide them with resources to get academic and emotional assistance. We want to empower students to make the decision that’s best for them, and to be there for them throughout the process once they’ve reported.”
For many personal reasons, some students do not feel comfortable coming forward after an incident of sexual or interpersonal violence. Because each student responds differently to trauma, Baylor works to ensure that fear of reporting an incident is not a barrier to receiving help. Baylor offers Ethics Point, a third-party reporting feature that provides complete anonymity to the student, witness or friend reporting an incident. Ethics Point allows Title IX staff to respond with options and resources available to provide assistance.
“For various reasons, people sometimes don’t feel comfortable coming forward to report something,” Rob Carter, Director of Internal Audit and Management Analysis, said. Carter receives all anonymous information posted in Ethics Point, which Title IX related reports are immediately shared with the Title IX Office. “EthicsPoint is a very valuable resource from the perspective of helping people who feel compelled to communicate issues or concerns to do so safely and honestly in a confidential and anonymous manner. We have a lot of great reporting resources, and it’s a valuable thing to be able to remove any barriers to reporting for students who might otherwise be afraid to report, for any number of reasons. Once something is shared in EthicsPoint that is Title IX related, it goes to the Title IX Office, who can begin working through the situation. We want students to have a way to report and know that every proper diligence is taken to investigate.”
Baylor’s support for students doesn’t stop with adjudication through the Title IX Office. The Title IX Office partners with other campus resources that provide guidance and support to help students find healing, wholeness, and academic success. Those resources include the Baylor University Police Department, Baylor University Counseling Center and the Counseling Center’s 24-hour Crisis Line phone number, Baylor University Health Services and the Baylor University Chaplain.
“The Title IX Office has to act in a neutral, investigative way,” Tucker said. “Other resources on campus can offer methods for healing and coping that we cannot. We want students to be academically successful and to function as well as they can amidst the trauma. Students can talk to the counseling center, call the Crisis Line, health center and chaplain confidentially. These joint partnerships are effective because we meet student needs in various ways.”
All across campus – including every public restroom stall – students see “It’s On Us BU” flyers that feature the Title IX website, phone number, and other campus resources so that students receive regular reminders of where to go and what is available to them in the event of sexual violence.
“We’ve worked to train our campus community to know what options are available,” Tucker said. “We’ve put it all together, on flyers and on the website, so that if someone is in crisis, they have those contact numbers.
“It’s so important for students to know that we are here for them during an emotionally trying situation, especially right after an event has taken place. Providing resources 24 hours a day lets students know there’s always someone available, ready to help and support them each step of the way.”