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USG Committee Works to Curtail Sexual Misconduct

Sexual+misconduct+is+an+issue+on+college+campuses+accross+the+nation.+%28Courtesy+of+It%27s+on+Us+Fordham%29
Sexual misconduct is an issue on college campuses accross the nation. (Courtesy of It's on Us Fordham)

Sexual misconduct is an issue on college campuses accross the nation. (Courtesy of It's on Us Fordham)

Sexual misconduct is an issue on college campuses accross the nation. (Courtesy of It's on Us Fordham)


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By Katherine Leonard

Sexual misconduct is an issue on college campuses accross the nation. (Courtesy of It’s on Us Fordham)

With sexual violence being a prominent topic in the national spotlight, one group on Fordham’s campus is working to diminish the number of incidents involving sexual misconduct.

The Committee on Sexual Misconduct is a sector of the United Student Government (USG) that serves in any capacity to tackle the national issue of sexual misconduct that has affected college campuses over the last couple of decades. The committee is led by co-chairs Nate Singh, FCRH ’19, and Emma Budd, FCRH ’20 and comprised of a group of undergraduate students who devote their free time to the cause.

As reported by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, 23.1 percent of females and 5.4 percent of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation during their undergraduate studies.
The Committee on Sexual Misconduct is working to reduce the number of sexual assaults on and off campus. According to their statement, they strive to do so by continuing the conversation of sexual misconduct across Fordham by enacting initiatives and analyzing Fordham’s response for students affected by incidents of sexual misconduct.

These initiatives include raising awareness about the Title IX process at Fordham so that it is a comprehensible and attainable resource for all students, promoting conversations about consent and rape culture and increasing education about what bystanders can do to be part of the solution. The committee considers a lack of understanding about these issues a “root cause of sexual assault” and wishes to address these problems head-on to create a better environment for Fordham students.

Although the Committee on Sexual Misconduct is trained by the Title IX administration, they work as an independent task force, their main priority being the representation of Fordham students. This committee considers themselves different from other resources on campus because they “act as a middle ground” between the student body and the administration.

The committee is dedicated to providing survivors accurate information about all available resources on campus. They have access to the CARE resources provided by Fordham, which include the Department of Public Safety, Counseling and Psychological Services, Campus Ministry and more. Students can report misconduct through the committee, although members of the committee are not mandated reporters. The group welcomes students to talk to members if they need advice or information about the reporting process.

The Committee on Sexual Misconduct considers its primary goals to be preventing sexual misconduct, educating students about options if a violation or assault occurs and working with the Title IX committee to ensure its effectiveness.

Above all, the committee’s main goal is to ensure that all acts of sexual misconduct are reported. This is the most important aspect to the committee according to Singh because only 10 to 30 percent of all incidents involving sexual misconduct are ever reported. Singh said he hopes for all Fordham students to feel “comfortable and safe enough” to report the incidents.

Once a report is made to the University, Fordham responds with a trained response team made up of staff from the Department of Public Safety, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator, the deans of students and Title IX Coordinator Kareem Peat. Peat was just recently appointed this past August as the Title IX Coordinator, and the committee said it looks forward to working with him.

Fordham’s policies prohibit any kind of sexual violence or misconduct which includes rape, sexual assault, stalking, sexual harassment, sex or gender discrimination, dating or domestic violence and sexual exploitation. The Title IX Office’s online statement ensures that it will enforce its policies on sexual offenses through “internal conduct procedures that are fair, prompt, and impartial.”

The Committee on Sexual Misconduct said it strives to serve as a place where victims can feel safe getting advice on Title IX matters. They feel their goals can be better reached with involvement on campus from the student body.

An upcoming event is the Week of Action, which will take place on campus from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2. The committee is co-sponsoring this event with the It’s On Us Coalition at Fordham, a national movement to stop sexual assault on college campuses. The Week of Action is a national It’s On Us event and is carried out at colleges and universities across the country each semester.

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USG Committee Works to Curtail Sexual Misconduct