Ashford University is proud to show you our PAWs! That is, our Promoting Awareness and Wellness initiative! Every month, we'll highlight different causes and opportunities that reflect the values of the University. You'll also learn ways that you can participate or be more involved.
You can also check out PAWs in Student Health 101. Every issue includes guidance from professionals on nutrition and exercise, healthy relationships, stress management tools, and study skills. You'll get tips from your fellow students at Ashford and around the country. And, best of all, it's delivered right to your inbox!
March 2014 - Women's History Month
History in the Making
March is Women's History Month, and while Ashford PAWs usually takes the opportunity to celebrate the past accomplishments and contributions of women during this time, this year we'd like to focus on a compelling issue. Sexual assault prevention is everyone's business, and by learning more about this issue, you can help ensure our school, and our country, is a safer place for everyone.
It is nearly impossible to speak about sexual assault in a college setting without referencing Title IX. But what is Title IX? In technical terms, Title IX is a comprehensive federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender or sex to all recipients of federal funds, including both public and private institutions. Title IX guarantees equal access to educational programs funded by the federal government, and its policies are intended to end sexual harassment and discrimination, prevent its reoccurrence, and help restore victims to their pre-discrimination status. (Fast Facts, n.d.)
Still have questions? So did we. To help us better understand Title IX, we recently spoke with Michelle Issadore, Associate Vice President for Operations and Public Information for the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management. Michelle develops and strengthens peer educator programs, trains advocates, and works in strategic prevention planning. "I think Title IX is a relatively easy concept for people to understand. It's part of the educational amendments of 1972." The amendment Michelle mentions is in place to ensure that learning institutions provide a safe and fair environment to students of all genders. Michelle explains, "That means an environment that is free from discrimination and retaliation, and offers equal opportunities to folks regardless of their sex or gender identity."
While Title IX deals with all forms of gender equality, there has been a heightened focus of sexual harassment and sexual violence since the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights published a document detailing the obligations that schools have to their students when it comes to sexual harassment and sexual violence. "I think that it served as a wake up call," Michelle notes. "We want to focus on prevention…but for those cases that do come to pass, we want to make sure their process is as impartial, fair, and equitable as possible."
A National Issue
If the topics of gender equality and sexual assault prevention sound familiar to you, you're not alone. These issues have recently garnered national attention. President Obama even addressed the issue for the Council on Women and Girls, saying, "We're going to work with colleges and universities and educational institutions of all kinds across America to help them come up with better ways to prevent and respond to sexual assault…and then we'll help them put those ideas into practice, because our schools need to be places where our [young people] feel secure and confident as they prepare to go as far as their God-given talents can carry them" (Remarks by the President, 2014).
Tremier Johnson is Ashford University's Associate Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion; he is also our University Title IX Coordinator. In this position, he is well aware of Ashford's commitment, and states "Ashford University has always been committed to Title IX compliance through fair and equitable processes that address discrimination in a variety of forms. Not just sexual misconduct, not just sports, but also discrimination and disparate treatment based on gender. We have made very strong efforts to continually review and improve our Title IX processes to not only ensure compliance, but to ensure and maintain a welcoming, supportive, equitable and safe environment for every member of the Ashford community, both online and on the Clinton campus."
A Culture of Support
Gender equality and sexual assault prevention is everyone's business. According to the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), someone is sexually assaulted in the US every two minutes. While this fact might seem overwhelming, sexual assault has decreased by more than half since 1993 (RAINN Statistics, n.d.). By working together, we can ensure that we make our country safer for people of all genders.
If you, or someone you know, have experienced sexual violence, don't wait to get support! Reach out to your Director or Associate Director of Student Affairs, University Public Safety personnel, Campus Security Authorities (CSA), or local police. You are strongly encouraged to report all incidents that threaten your continued well-being, safety, or security.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has trained advocates who are available 24/7 to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.
911rape provides support for sexual assault victims, is a safe and anonymous way to learn how to get help after a sexual assault, and provides information and resources to educate the public about rape and sexual assault.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of "America's 100 Best Charities" by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country, and also operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense.
Fast Facts (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2014 from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=93
RAINN Statistics (n.d.) Retrieved February 14, 2014, from https://www.rainn.org/statistics
Remarks by the President and Vice President at an Event for the Council on Women and Girls. (2014). Retrieved February 14, 2014 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/01/22/remarks-president-and-vice-president-event-council-women-and-girls
US Department of Justice (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2014 from http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/cor/coord/ixovervw.php