Common Misconceptions of Title IX and Clery
With all the changes taking place with Title IX and the Clery Act, universities are revamping their definitions and trying to disseminate information to their student bodies.
But surveys show that students are not getting the message. Universities post new changes to their websites and send out emails, but miss the target audience because students are instead on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
The Association of American Universities conducted the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, which had 27 university participants.
The survey was conducted in the spring of 2015. It revealed that 75 percent of students don’t know what was available to them, in regards to reporting sexual misconduct.
The Pine Needle did a survey as well and had similar results. Here are some common misconceptions and facts:
Misconception: Students are aware of and understand what Title IX and the Clery Act is.
Fact: Less than half of students know what Title IX and the Clery Act is according to national and local results.
The Pine Needle’s survey sample of 70 UNC-Pembroke students, carried out during the spring of 2016, showed 40 didn’t know what Title IX and the Clery Act was.
Misconception: Sexual assault and sexual misconduct are the same thing.
Fact: Sexual misconduct is a much broader term that encompasses sexual assault, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and other sexual offenses.
UNCP student’s responses about sexual misconduct showed confusion about the differences.
In the AAU survey, which “estimated sexual assault and sexual misconduct using various definitions,” students from the universities involved didn’t have a clear understanding of what sexual misconduct was either.
Misconception: Victims of sexual misconduct are only females.
Fact: Both male and females can be victims of any form of sexual misconduct.
“One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college,” according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
This also leads to the misconception the only men commit sexual violence, but both men and women have been reported to commit forms of sexual misconduct.
In the Pine Needle survey, most students left out gender in their definitions of sexual misconduct and used “someone” as the signifier, highlighting that sexual misconduct can happen to both male and females.
Misconception: Students are unsafe on campus or off campus at night.
Fact: There are resources available and measures in place to ensure student safety.
“I feel safe on campus during the daytime, but because more things happen at night I don’t feel safe walking to my car when I get out of my night class,” said Jasmine Smith, a junior studying Elementary Education.
From the survey given to UNCP students, 38 students said they felt safe walking around campus after 10:00 p.m. However, 32 didn’t.
Walking off-campus received a different response. More than 80 percent of students that took the survey said that they didn’t feel safe walking off-campus after 10:00 p.m.
More than half of the students said that better lighting was needed around campus at night, more police patrolling at night and more frequently, more emergency response poles and more security cameras.
However, UNCP has 220 CC-TV’s around campus and more than 50 emergency telephones located around campus and residence halls.
Campus police also provide a police escort to those who do not feel safe walking by themselves to any location on campus. But this doesn’t extend to off campus apartments (Point, Place or Commons).
Misconception: If someone has been subjected to sexual misconduct they have to go to the police. Fact: Students no longer have to talk directly to police if sexual misconduct has taken place.
Fifty-seven percent of students believe that they should refer themselves or someone they know, that has been a victim of sexual misconduct, to the police.
Since the change of UNCP’s sexual misconduct policy, students no longer have to seek out campus police.
Ronette Sutton Gerber is trying to educate students on Title IX and the Clery Act as well as the resources available to students.
“For students, training and awareness not as systematic as faculty. There is no authority over students, like there is with faculty,” said Gerber.
She is trying to reach out to groups and organizations on campus, such as residence halls, SGA and freshman seminar classes, and have them help spread the word on Title IX and the Clery Act.