Baylor Title IX Office Continues Exceptional Care for Students, Recognizes Sexual Assault Awareness Month

(Matthew Minard, Baylor Marketing & Communications)
April 14, 2020

Baylor’s training and prevention specialist shares resources and advice

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By Kaitlyn Rieper, marketing specialist, Baylor Marketing and Brand Strategy

WACO, Texas (April 14, 2020) – Baylor University annually recognizes Sexual Assault Awareness month during April with on-campus events, activities and trainings. This year, COVID-19 preventive efforts mean that April looks much different for students, faculty and staff.

However, sexual assault and interpersonal violence can happen anywhere. It is important to recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month and review the resources available to the Baylor community even when we are dispersed around the globe.

In the following Q&A, Tracey Tevis, training and prevention specialist in the Baylor Title IX Office, outlines how Title IX is still serving students near and far, how we can participate in Sexual Assault Awareness Month from home and how to maintain healthy relationships during social distancing.

Q: How is the Title IX Office still serving students during COVID-19?

TEVIS: The Baylor Title IX Office remains available to offer support to anyone needing to report a Title IX-related incident or seeking support for recovery. Even though students, faculty and staff may be in their homes and away from campus, our commitment to providing a safe and non-discriminatory learning and working environment remains the same.

During this time of focused attention on Title IX Awareness, it is always helpful to remind the campus community of the actions covered under the Title IX policy: sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, intimate partner violence, and retaliation. The Title IX Office is here to make sure that anyone who reports these experiences or reports being a witness to these experiences feels safe, knows their rights and is aware of resources available to support them.

We have adapted some of our practices to help meet the needs of the community. If anyone needs to make a report to our office, we are available in the following ways:

Additional resources, like confidential campus services, can be found on the Title IX website. We continue to provide support and connection to on- and off-campus resources during this time.

For those not currently in Waco, we will help you look for resources wherever you may be located. If any of our groups or departments on campus would like education or training during this time, they can reach out to me, via email at tracey_tevis@baylor.edu, for ways to partner and bring training and awareness on a digital platform.

Q: April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. While we can’t participate on campus in awareness events, what are things that we can keep in mind?

TEVIS: Sexual assault is something that affects every community and is not something to think about only during the month of April or while on campus. To make a change, we first have to start with awareness. Remember that we can increase our awareness and be committed to prevention from anywhere.

While on-campus events are canceled, there are National Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities that you can still participate in at home. For example, support Denim Day on April 29 by wearing denim to show solidarity with survivors. Other participation can come in the form of online film screenings and lectures and podcasts. If campus or office groups or individuals would like to schedule trainings or discussions, let us know so that we can try to arrange that.

Q: The Title IX Office works to encourage healthy relationships. Healthy relationships are just as important now as they were before social distancing. What does a healthy relationship look like?

TEVIS: Social distancing is something that we should all be practicing, yet is something that can take a toll on a relationship. Not only romantic relationships, but also those with friends and family. Some characteristics of a healthy relationship include trust, honesty, independence, respect and equality.

During these times of isolation, it is important to continue to keep communication lines open. Set up times during the week to get together with friends, family and partners using apps such as FaceTime, WhatsApp, Zoom and other video call platforms.

Q: What do you most want students to know about this time?

TEVIS: We want to be sure that all students know that, regardless of their location right now, our office is here to help with any experiences related to Title IX with privacy, equity and due process. Above all, we remain committed to providing support with care and concern. Our priority is ensuring that students are aware that resources are available to them even though they are not on campus and that they continue to have the opportunity to be successful in their educational pursuits.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 18,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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