The Vermont Cynic

Response to “Mandated Reporting Issue”

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As the Intake and Outreach Coordinator for the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity (which addresses incidents of discrimination and harassment on campus, including sexual misconduct and assault), I am writing in response to the “Mandated Reporting Issue” staff editorial in the April 25, 2018 online edition of the Cynic.

Experiencing an incident of sexual assault or sexual misconduct is undoubtedly one of the most difficult things that can happen to a student.

Disclosing such a deeply personal and traumatizing event to anyone — let alone to a University official — takes a lot of strength, trust and courage.

While some oppose mandatory reporting out of the reasonable concern that it detracts from a survivor’s sense of control over an already traumatizing situation, it is a best and necessary practice for institutions because it enables them to address sexual misconduct and sexual assault, to understand potential serious trends and to better provide education and prevention resources.

When AAEO receives a report of sexual misconduct, my role is to provide support services and reporting options to the individual who disclosed the incident(s).

A survivor is in complete control over the services they choose to receive or not to receive. They decide whether or not they want to take
administrative and/or criminal action.

Absent very rare exceptions, UVM does not force an investigation of sexual assault or misconduct against the wishes of a survivor.
In every report that AAEO receives, however, students are offered a range of support and services that may help them tremendously in the wake of a difficult or traumatizing event, such as housing options, academic assistance, no-contact orders, and other appropriate measures.

I work with students to answer their questions and make sure that they understand the criminal and institutional reporting options that are available to them.

It is also important to note that students can receive a full range of support and services, regardless of whether or not they choose to file a formal complaint.

UVM wants every survivor to feel safe reporting these incidents.

While I appreciate the concern for protecting the autonomy of survivors, UVM has a duty to prevent these acts from occurring at our institution, and to provide survivors with support and resources to help them through a very difficult time.

Without mandated reporting, I fear that our ability to offer these critical services to students (who may not otherwise know that they exist), and to respond promptly and effectively to incidents of sexual misconduct and sexual assault that occur in our community, would be greatly diminished.

UVM offers a range of relevant confidential and non-confidential resources. These resources are
exempt from CSA reporting requirements:

On-campus Confidential Resources:
 Campus Victim’s Advocate (802)656-7892
 UVM Counseling & Psychiatry Services (802)656-3340
 Student Health Center (802)656-3350
 EAP (for employees) 1-866-660-9533

Community Confidential Resources:
 HOPE Works 1-800-489-7273 (24 hr. hotline) – (802)863-1236
 Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services (802)241-1250
 Steps to End Domestic Violence (802)658-1996
 SafeSpace (Pride Center of Vermont) (802)860-7812

We encourage individuals to seek support and to report sexual misconduct. A student who has experienced sexual misconduct or sexual assault may wish to pursue an administrative AAEO investigation, a criminal investigation, both, or neither.

AAEO is also available to provide academic, residential, and other support as appropriate, regardless of whether or not a student pursues an
investigation.

Non-Confidential Sexual Misconduct Resources:
 Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity (AAEO): 802-656-3368
Online reporting form available at: www.uvm.edu/aaeo
 UVM Police Services: 802-656-3473 or 911 in an emergency www.uvm.edu/police

Taryn Moran, Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Intake and Outreach Coordinator

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Response to “Mandated Reporting Issue”