MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In light of calls to action at recent protests at colleges and universities across the country, including the Morgantown campus, and as part of a global commitment to provide a safe environment to students, faculty, staff and visitors, the University of West Virginia reminds the academic community of its education and awareness efforts in several key areas, including personal safety, sexual assault and other crimes linked to Title IX.
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Division (DEI) houses the WVUs Title IX coordinator who oversees the investigation of all civil rights-based complaints, including Title IX complaints and ensures that access to University programs and activities is not prohibited on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
This work includes investigating reports of sexual assault – crimes such as rape, sexual abuse and touching.
“We support the choices survivors make – whether or not to report, and who to report to – and recognize that these choices are particularly difficult in some cases,” said James Goins, Jr., director of personal insurance. WVU Title IX actions and coordinator. “When a sexual assault occurs, I want to be clear that it is never the victim’s fault.”
Amy Kittle is Deputy Director for Prevention and Education with DCI.
“Knowing what to do and who to talk to can be confusing,” Kittle said. “There are people here to guide you to support and resources. We want to help you feel more secure and informed after an assault.
The DCI website has information on how to report abuse Where file a complaint, the to treat and one detailed flowchart that goes through it step by step, as well as the support offered along the way. For those who want to speak to someone anonymously, call or text the Title IX hotline at 304-906-9930 where someone is available 24 hours a day.
Additional resources and advice specifically related to sexual assault are also available at security.wvu.edu.
Anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted (or witnessed a potential assault) should immediately go to a safe place and call 911 as soon as possible to report what has happened. The sooner a sexual assault is reported, the easier it is to gather valuable evidence and begin support services.
Considerations following an assault include:
- Do not bathe, shower or brush your teeth (this will allow law enforcement and medical professionals to collect evidence). And don’t wash the clothes (put them in a disposable bag and take them to the emergency room).
- Anyway, go to the emergency room and pass a forensic examination for sexual assault. WVU students who are sexually assaulted can get a SAFE exam and related medical treatment for free at JW Ruby Memorial Hospital when they present their WVU ID.
How to get to the emergency room at JW Ruby Memorial Hospital
How to get to the emergency room at Mon Health medical center
- Tell someone – a trusted friend, relative or relative. Call someone you can talk to, no matter what time it is. You can always find and speak to a resident assistant, resident director, or any member of the student affairs staff. These staff members are required to report disclosures to the Title IX coordinator.
- Call the local rape and domestic violence center at 304-292-5100. A lawyer is trained to help victims learn about their medical and legal options and to provide emotional support. For a 24 hour hotline, call 1-888-825-7835.
Victims and / or witnesses are strongly encouraged to report assault on WVU Title IX coordinator:
Director of Equity Assurance and Title IX Coordinator
WVU Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Division
P.O. Box 6202
1085 Van Voorhis Road
Morgantown, West Virginia 26506
Email: [email protected]
Prevention, Kittle said, is WVU’s number one strategy because it prefers to be proactive rather than reactive.
The name of our team is the Prevention Education Team. It is therefore extremely important to provide support and resources. But the name of the game is prevention. The name of the game is to prevent this damage from happening in the first place. And so, we are a team of four and we are constantly busy. We work with students, faculty and staff. We do all kinds of training and education, but also awareness campaigns. And so, that would include information on Title IX and how to report. This would include explaining what behaviors are prohibited by both university policy and the law, but it also includes educating students about things like consent.
Amy Kittle – Deputy Director for Prevention and Education with DCI
WVU says assault prevention begins and ends with the offender. The victim is never responsible. However, setting boundaries and being aware of your surroundings can help keep you safe.
- Know your limits and communicate them clearly and firmly to your partner. Decide what you are ready to do sexually. Never assume that other people know how you feel.
- Recognize people who disrespect you. This includes someone who tries to make you feel guilty for saying “no”, who does not respect your limits, who tries to get you drunk, or who tries to give you drugs.
- Trust your feelings. Leave if you feel uncomfortable.
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid isolated places, especially with someone you don’t know well.
- Download the LiveSafe app, which enables direct and discreet two-way communication with university police using text, photo, video and audio. It also allows you to drive your friends and family home virtually with SafeWalk.
- Submit a complaintto the Title IX office whenever you believe a violation has occurred (students, faculty, and staff can submit).
WVU is always working to ensure that the campus community is safe and inclusive and has recently joined 20 colleges and universities in the Culture of Respect Collective. The two-year program is focused on improving reporting of sexual violence on campus and ultimately preventing it.
The university will share more specific information, advice and resources available as part of this continuing education and awareness effort over the coming weeks and months.
A community notice is part of WVU three-tier emergency notification system used to improve student and employee safety and provide useful information to the community.