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Student services present sexual assault reports

| Thursday, March 6, 2014

At Wednesday night’s Student Senate meeting, Dr. Bill Stackman, associate vice president for Student Services and Deputy Title IX Coordinator, initiated a conversation about sexual assault occurrence and policy on campus.

Stackman said there were 24 reported cases of sexual misconduct in the 2012-2013 school year.

According to his PowerPoint presentation, 19 of those cases involved alcohol. Six complainants were freshmen and five were male.
“At this point, I have seen 21 cases this year,” he said. “I had seen 19 by the end of the first semester.

“What I’m going to take away from that is that I think we’re doing a better job at reporting. A lot of my cases come from staff and faculty. A lot of them come from second and third hand sources.”

All faculty and staff, with the exception of professed religious staff in campus ministry, the University counseling center and University health services, are mandatory reporters, Stackman said. They are required to inform the Deputy Title IX Coordinator of information shared with them about a potential sexual assault.

Once an incident is reported, the complainant has three options for pursuing an investigation, he said. The person may follow the University disciplinary process, the criminal process or pursue both simultaneously. Any complainant who chooses not to pursue any investigation or divulge the name of the accused may reopen the case at a later date as long as both students are still enrolled at the university.

Stackman said he thinks there are several challenges facing the university regarding sexual assault. The issue of consent often comes up, Stackman said.

“Hookup culture and alcohol make this difficult,” he said. “There’s not clear communication.

“This doesn’t mean we don’t have perpetrators here, because we do. We have people who deliberately know what they are doing ahead of time. But often what I see in these situations is that communication breaks down.”

Although the University received 21 incident reports, Stackman said the national average for reporting sexual assault is five percent. This means it is possible there are far more sexual assaults taking place.

“My sense is that we may not have as much activity in compared in other schools—that’s my guess, if I was to guess, but what we have is horrible,” he said. “Just like your campaign, one is too many.”

Student government initiatives are key to moving forward, Stackman said.

”Students taking action is probably the most powerful thing that can happen,” he said. “Peers talking to peers — that will begin to change the culture more than anything. My office will be there to support you.”

Stackman came to Notre Dame in August 2012. As associate vice president for student services, Stackman supervises the Counseling Center, Health Services and the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education. As Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Stackman responds to all issues regarding sexual assault between students.

At the meeting, Senate also approved Farley Hall junior Kathryn Peruski for the position of judicial council president 2014-2015.
Senate also passed a resolution supporting the creation of a student advisory board for the Snite Museum of Art, which established one representative of student government’s Department of Academic Affairs on the advisory board.

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About Margaret Hynds

Margaret is a senior Political Science major and the former Editor-in-Chief of The Observer. She hails from Washington, D.C., and is a former Phox of Pangborn Hall. Follow Margaret on Twitter @MargaretHynds

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