West Liberty University is considered one of the safest campus environments in the region. To further ensure the safety of its students and in order to make sure that students understand the nature of sexual assault, several new programs are being offered to all students.
“These new programs are designed to offer our students the most up-to-date information and understanding of sexual assault. All programs comply with new federal mandates and increase the safety of our campus,” said Title IX Coordinator Bridgette Dawson, director of WLU’s Learning and Student Development Center.
WLU’s actions come on the heels of President Obama’s task force recommendations this past April that recommended that colleges survey students about sexual assault and other campus safety issues and take a variety of steps to prevent sexual misconduct.
“Nationwide the issue has attracted attention, and West Liberty University is beginning new programs for both students and staff to address the problem,” said Dawson.
All first year students are required to attend the new ‘Sex Signals’ program that will take place at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 27 in College Hall.
The new program offers students a thorough understanding of sexual assault and consent. It also provides safe and positive options for bystander intervention, a topic that has earned national attention in the press.
Additionally, the program will provide useful information on risk reduction versus prevention.
“We believe in this program because it will build awareness of sexual assault both on and off campus. It’s great training for life,” said Student Government President Evan Newman who is from New Martinsville, W.Va.
WLU also will require both employees and students to complete online training to address the critical issues of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. The training will be web-based through the Everfi learning platform and is called the Haven program.
“West Liberty University wants to be in the forefront of safety and we are happy to offer our employees along with our students the chance to increase campus security and reduce risks,” said Vice President of Human Resources James Stultz.
“We’ll also be conducting a campus-wide “climate” survey and entering into Memorandums Of Understandings with local law enforcement and the Sexual Assault Help Center,” Stultz added.
“With data from the National Institute of Justice showing that one in five college women, and one in 16 men, will experience some form of non-consensual sexual activity by college graduation, our program is needed,” Dawson said.
“All students are concerned with safety and interested in learning prevention skills,” added Student Government Vice President Jeffrey Tice of Chester, W.Va.
Dawson’s office, in collaboration with Stultz and the Associate Dean of Student Services Marcella Snyder, developed the sexual violence prevention response which was reviewed by Dean of Enrollment and Student Services Scott Cook.
“As manifested by the increasing number of Title IX complaints at campuses across the nation, this type of safety training is needed. Our campus leaders welcome the opportunity to provide both employees and students with critical information required by the new Federal legislation,” Dawson concluded. Title IX is a federal gender equity law that, among other requirements, sets the rules for how schools must investigate incidents of sexual assault or violence.
West Liberty University enjoys the presence of a paid professional police force on duty 24-7, led by Capt. Thomas Hostutler. Officers provide 24-hour-a-day patrol to the grounds, parking lots, residence halls, academic buildings and the faculty housing area.
Led by President Robin C. Capehart, West Liberty University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. For more information, please visit www.westliberty.edu or call 1.866.WESTLIB.