Learning remotely and living off campus brings numerous challenges and can also exacerbate unsafe living environments. The following reminders and resources are meant to help clarify how the St. Olaf Title IX Policy continues to function during this time of remote learning and how to get assistance should you or a loved one need it.
- The Title IX Office is still open (remotely) and serving students, faculty, and staff during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals can report new and old incidents of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence by contacting the Title IX Office (firstname.lastname@example.org / 507-786-3465). Remember that reporting allows you to learn about all the various options, resources, and support mechanisms available to you and that we don’t automatically initiate a Title IX investigation upon receipt of a report.
- We do not want concerns about the College’s alcohol and illicit drugs policy or COVID-19 community standards to cause individuals to either avoid reporting or to provide incomplete or inaccurate information during an investigation into such a report. Therefore, individuals who report sexual harassment and individuals who participate as a party or witness in an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment will not be disciplined by the College for violations of its Policies on Alcohol and Illicit Drugs and/or COVID-19 community standards that are disclosed during the reporting process or as a result of an investigation.
- St. Olaf’s Title IX Policy still applies to you regardless of where you are living or who else is involved in an incident of misconduct. This means that you are still held accountable to the Policy and should not violate any aspect of the Policy even while you are off campus. Additionally, all students are still protected under the Policy, meaning that if a student does experience sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence, they can receive assistance, resources, and support via the Title IX Office and other campus resources.
- Incidents of sexual harassment may increase via online platforms used during remote learning and social distancing. These types of incidents are unacceptable and reportable under Title IX. Individuals who experience this type of misconduct are able to receive help and assistance by reaching out to the Title IX Office.
- Incidents of domestic violence and dating violence may increase with students living at home, with family or friends, or with their partners. These incidents — regardless of who committed the act of violence and where it occurred — are all reportable via Title IX. Students who have experienced these types of incidents are encouraged to report and get assistance from the Title IX Office.
- While our Title IX Office does not automatically report incidents to local law enforcement, we are legally obligated to share certain types of reports (namely physical/sexual abuse or neglect) with Child Protective Services only when the victim is under 18 years of age.
- Many states, including Minnesota, have issued Stay at Home Orders for their residents. Know that these orders do not mean that individuals must stay in an unsafe home or relationship. You can still leave your home to seek safety. If you are in a physically or sexually abusive home environment, know that the Title IX Office is here to help as well as the additional resources listed below. Advocacy agencies and sexual assault exams are considered “essential services” during these Stay at Home Orders, meaning that they are available and accessible to anyone who needs them at this time.
Campus resources remain available to assist you if you or a loved one have experienced any form of sexual misconduct (sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and/or sexual exploitation):
- Title IX Coordinator Kari Hohn is available to speak with students about the options and resources available to them (email@example.com / 507-786-3465).
- Class Deans or other members of the Title IX Team are available to assist students and point them toward appropriate resources.
- Boe House Counseling Center remains available to assist students via Let’s Talk and phone consultation. Learn more about how to get assistance from Boe House Counselors at https://wp.stolaf.edu/counseling-center/. *confidential resource
- Sexual Assault Resource Network (SARN) advocates are available by contacting the co-chairs at firstname.lastname@example.org. *confidential resource
- College Pastors are available to speak with students remotely by contacting Matt Marohl (College Pastor, email@example.com), Katie Fick (Associate College Pastor, firstname.lastname@example.org), Shosh Dworsky (Associate Chaplain for Jewish Life, email@example.com), or Iman Jafri (Interim Associate Chaplain for Muslim Life, firstname.lastname@example.org). *confidential resource
- Health Services is available for any health concerns via their online portal. *confidential resource
If you or a loved one are experiencing sexual, dating, and/or domestic violence, you can contact the following free and confidential resources:
- National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 (online chatting is also available via their website: https://www.rainn.org/).
- National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (online chatting and mobile texting is also available via their website: https://www.thehotline.org/ or https://www.loveisrespect.org/).
Minnesota residents can find a sexual assault/domestic violence advocate near them by visiting rapehelpmn.org. Students needing an advocate in other states or countries are welcome to reach out to me (email@example.com) or the National Hotlines listed above to get connected to an advocacy agency in their local area.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center is also cultivating a list of useful resources given the changes and impact of COVID-19. Those resources are accessible here.
The primary purpose of this message is to reiterate that help and support is available to anyone who is experiencing — or has experienced — sexual or interpersonal violence. Despite these challenging circumstances, the web of support available to you at St. Olaf remains and we do not tolerate incidents of sexual or interpersonal misconduct. We will always be committed to your safety and well being, regardless of how far away you are from campus. Please reach out to Title IX Coordinator Kari Hohn or any of the resources listed here if you are in need of assistance or a listening ear. We’re here for you.