Campus encourages active bystanders

Sofia Sanchez Salcedo

Campus Life hopes to prevent sexual assault by initiating the active bystander program at Crowder College. The problem of sexual assault is rampant across college campuses in the United States; however, Crowder has had no incidents since the inception of the school. Pamphlets and flyers on display in McDonald Hall, distributed by Campus Life, aim to keep the school just as safe.

The efforts focus on preventing Crowder students from being victimized, becoming victimizers and encouraging people to be active bystanders and intervening if they can. These efforts are in line with the student handbook that is issued to every freshman, where policy states that sexual abuse, or the intention to commit it, is not only illegal, but is also against school policy. This means if someone should commit such actions, they may face criminal charges as well as disciplinary actions.

“Crowder College is required to prevent, report and investigate violations of the Student Code of Conduct, including sexual misconduct.  Prosecution of those alleged crimes are handled by law enforcement and not the College,” said Tiffany Slinkard, vice president of student affairs.

In regards to Crowder’s active bystander approach, Slinkard said that if students see someone who may potentially be at risk, consider it an emergency and call for help. Also, if a student is a victim of or a witness to sexual misconduct, they need to report it immediately.

However, when it comes to the active bystander approach, some say that it might at least encourage students to tell their friends about incidences, while others will likely pretend like nothing happened.

“Calling the police might be too severe for some students,” added Alondra Lopez, a freshman criminal justice major.

Crowder College, like all other colleges who receive federal financial aid, comply with Title IX and the Cleary Act, legislations that state schools are required to protect students of sexual assault or abuse regardless of the gender or genders of any parties therein involved.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has been at the forefront of also fighting sexual assault on campuses through the country stating on her website that to curb sexual violence, colleges and universities “have a responsibility for addressing these crimes.”

Crowder’s security officers, located in McDonald Hall, stated they are in meetings every other week about sexual assault and Crowder’s handling of it. It is encouraged that students put the security number, 417-455-5744, into their cellphones in the event that a student finds themselves in that situation while on campus.