New MSU response team to combat sexual assault

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Midwestern State University administrators are working to address several misconduct issues some students say the university is not tackling.
It will be done through a new sexual assault response team that will work with students on solving these problems. 
A lot of the issues the administrators said they are working on follow remarks made by students during a faculty forum on Monday.

"We listened yesterday," Dr. Keith Lamb MSU Vice President of Student Affairs said. "We think we understand what they are saying and we're going to come up with a list of possible solutions and work with the students to make sure those are appropriate."

He said one of the issues the response team wants to address is the violation of the no-contact order. It is an administrative process that states students are not allowed to have contact with each other during a sexual misconduct investigation or else face disciplinary action.

"Why should people be allowed to be in the same class that has no-contact forms," Zoe Nolan, 19, a freshman said. "Why should they be allowed to live in the same building? At this point, it seems the no-contact form isn't doing its job or serving its purpose."

"There are serial harassers on this campus who have multiple no-contact orders on them and are also banned from being on certain parts of this campus but they still live in our dorms," Jaylon Williams, 21, a resident assistant and a member for the university's student government association.

Dr. Lamb said that protocol will be immediately changed using student input.

"I think it's confusing for the students and they think it's largely ineffectual and we need to work to get a better process in place," Dr. Lamb said.

"They expect the students just to know all the protocols and the weight should be on the students when it should be balanced," Steven Ehlert President of Resident Hall Association said.

Dr. Lamb said they are adding a Title IX coordinator director by September to help resolve investigations more quickly after students complained the process took too long.

"We've seen an increase in caseload that has resulted in the slowing down in some investigations with a small squad dedicated to it," Dr. Lamb said. The new director will be solely focused on the position. The current director, Matthew Park, is the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.

Another issue students said they have trouble is finding the resources available to report sexual misconduct on campus something Dr. Lamb said the multi-disciplinary task force is working to improve.

Some students said they will not believe the university is serious about making changes until they see results.

A campus climate survey will be sent out this week to students to find out how widespread sexual assault is on campus.

Last year's survey revealed 16 percent of students have been victims of sexual assault on campus.

Copyright 2018 RNN Texoma. All Rights Reserved.