We have a lot of work to do, and will continue working to address and prevent sexual assault.

By Angela Voos, Grinnell College Title IX Coordinator

Editor’s Note: This post is in response to “How ‘Yes Means Yes’ Doesn’t Solve Grinnell’s Title IX Problem.”

Grinnell takes the issue of sexual violence seriously. In recent years students, staff, faculty, and alumni persuasively made this point, and the College and community responded with a series of efforts, many student-initiated—something students can take pride in. Self-gov brought about the affirmative consent policy, not the administration, and maybe that is why we can hope it might have an impact on reducing sexual assault. The Grinnell Advocates have played an important role in being confidential resources to students in need. We are also grateful to the Crisis Intervention Services and the Chaplain’s Office for their incredible work.

The Grinnell College administration has worked hard to do our part, especially through systemic education and prevention efforts–for example, by training almost every member of the staff to connect students in need to resources. All this is to say, it is a community that will change the culture. We have a lot of work to do, and will continue working to address and prevent sexual assault, sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and unwanted touching.

The college will not comment on the specifics of a Title IX proceeding. It is, however, clear from our policies and procedures that Grinnell determines whether student conduct policies have been violated. The College does not determine if someone is responsible for a criminal act such as rape.

We sincerely hope that Grinnellians are not deterred from getting help by the op-ed’s suggestion that “Grinnell is not necessarily a safe environment for survivors to report rape.” We urge anyone who has experienced sexual violence to get assistance. That may mean accessing campus resources like talking to me, as the College’s Title IX coordinator; one of our campus chaplains; or the exceptional Grinnell Advocates group. Others may feel more comfortable seeking resources off-campus.

One way or the other, we urge you to please reach out if you need help. You can find a list of your options on the “Support Resources” page of the College’s Sexual Respect website.