Baylor University’s efforts to prevent sexual violence have been more visible this fall semester.
A month ago Baylor University made national headlines after a former Baylor player was convicted of sexually assaulting another student athlete in 2013.
However, Title IX Coordinator Patty Crawford said the efforts to develop a Title IX office that would help in part with efforts to prevent sexual assault are not reactionary, but have been a priority since she was hired in November.
In 2013, Baylor University did not have a Title IX office but did have a Title IX coordinator who oversaw the compliance with the law. Now the Title IX Office has a full-time coordinator and two investigators.
Part of the efforts to prevent sexual assault on campus, include joining a national campaign against sexual assault called “It’s On Us.”
It encourages students to be proactive and sign a pledge to show the community doesn’t tolerate interpersonal violence.
Baylor University created a video that showcases students talking about proactive and reactive measures the community can take to prevent sexual assault. The video which Crawford said was recorded in June and scripted in the spring semester aired during a home football game at McLane Stadium on Sept. 12.
"It's on us, on all of us, to make sure that we take a stand in a variety of different ways ranging from how we talk about a woman, how we have conversations of interpersonal violence, how we report and respond to those reports,” said Baylor Title IX Coordinator Patty Crawford.
Some students, including, freshmen, transfer and athletes, members of Greek life and student organizations, are also undergoing in person training about sexual assault prevention at the beginning of the semester. More than 4,000 freshmen and transfer students received this training at the beginning of the semester.
The training provides information on bystander intervention, which some students like Chukwuemeka Nzeakor found helpful.
“I think it's really helpful because it's definitely a scary situation to be put into to see interpersonal violence happening and not know what to do,” said Nzeakor. “Now that I have the familiarity of what to look out for, I'm a lot less scared to deal with it if it comes up,” said Nzeakor.
According to Crawford, a third of interpersonal violence occurs in the presence of bystanders.
“Bystander intervention is a national conversation that universities and colleges are having and K-12 where students can actually intervene when they see violence starting to happen in safe ways,” said Crawford.
Since May, Baylor students can report sexual discrimination, violence or sexual harassment anonymously through an online system.
Members of faculty and staff underwent an in person training where they learned about Title IX, their rights under the law, and their role regarding Title IX. In addition, they learned how to identify interpersonal violence and how to report it.
Faculty and staff must complete a Title IX online course in addition to the training. Freshmen must also complete an online training this semester to be able to register for classes this spring.
Some of these courses were intentionally implemented this fall after federal guidelines changed requiring universities to provide sexual assault prevention and training programs.
This is the first large scale training where the Title IX office is proving effectiveness and receiving strong student feedback. The training was piloted for months, which was intentional due to the office being new to the University, according to Crawford.
“Interpersonal violence exists in every community. Christian communities are not immune to interpersonal violence but Christian universities have such an awesome opportunity to speak the truth and Baylor is giving me the opportunity to do that," said Crawford.