Update from Interim Title IX Coordinator

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I intentionally display Emily Dickinson's poem about hope in my office. Dealing with the spectrum of sexual violence, hope can be elusive and often times a haunting memory of what life contained prior to an assault. This spring, however, I am full of hope for our community because of the recommendations from Margolis Healy and the overwhelmingly talented and competent personnel we have working on prevention, education and response for sexual violence. I hold hope for those who cannot access it at this time. Our campus will continue the shift away from the exclusive focus on sexual assault response to an increasing emphasis on the prevention of interpersonal violence. I have four substantive updates to share with you.

  • First, the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE Act) was passed in March 2013 as part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA). The Campus SaVE Act takes effect March 7 , 2014 and amends the Clery Act, now making it mandatory for colleges and universities to report offenses involving domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Additionally, it expands the categories of "hate crimes" to include those based on bias against gender identity or national origin. Education and training programs at the College will promote the awareness of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. In addition, Public Safety will also expand their trainings and has already expanded their crime collection categories.
  • Second, please visit the Sexual Assault and Harassment Resources website for the launch of brief video introductions by our supportive staff on campus. We will continue to add more videos to highlight our different resources, so keep checking.
  • Third, in response to numerous conversations with students last semester, we are creating a confidential peer-to-peer sexual violence resource through our partnership with Philadelphia's Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR). Pennsylvania law requires 40 hours of training for rape counselors, and students in the peer-to-peer resource will be required to participate in the 40 hours of training provided by WOAR. Nina Harris (Violence Prevention Educator and Advocate) and I will provide more details shortly.
  • Lastly, in our efforts to balance privacy with sharing important information with our community, Dean Nathan Miller will release an aggregate statistical summary of all categories of student conduct cases (with no identifying information). This annual report will be released each fall containing the data from the previous academic year, beginning in the fall of 2014.

As always, please reach out with any questions, comments, and concerns. I am grateful to be a part of such an inspiring and resilient community.

Patricia Flaherty Fischette

Patricia Flaherty Fischette, MSW, MLSP, LSW
Interim Title IX Coordinator
Office of the President
Swarthmore College
Sexual Assault and Harassment Resources