OCRIE hosts sexual misconduct informational event for students
The Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity (OCRIE) hosted a sexual misconduct informational event on March 20 in the Bovee University Center Lake Huron Room.
OCRIE and Title IX Deputy Director Mary Martinez led the event by describing to students what the office offers, such as assuring compliance with applicable civil rights, sexual misconduct and guidance opportunities for students.
"Sometimes first year students aren't aware of their options regarding sexual assault, but we outreach as much as possible throughout the year with table events at the U.C. and the Student Activity Center," Martinez said.
Martinez gave 50 presentations last semester alone, which she said gives plenty of opportunities for OCRIE to engage with the campus community.
"I learned a lot by coming to this event," said DeWitt sophomore Carson Motz. "I think Mary did a good job overviewing sexual assault, harassment, reporting and confidentiality. If someone came in not knowing anything about these topics, they would walk out with answers."
OCRIE runs "Think About It," which is an online training that is required for all students and employees to complete. It introduces students to issues relating to sexual misconduct such as healthy relationships, substance abuse, sexual aggression and bystander intervention through a variety of interactive and realistic scenarios.
"As much as it is an uncomfortable topic to talk about, (OCRIE) is here to help," said Marine City junior Jake Vigna. "It might be hard to reach out, but it is enlightening to have something like this. It shows that there is help for you, even if you think you might not need it or it's hard for you to reach out, they are here for you."
Martinez said that sometimes consent is considered taboo, but it shouldn’t be an awkward or forced conversation.
She told a story about her 5-year-old son understanding consent about not wanting to be hugged by his nana. She added that if her 5-year-old son can understand consent, anyone can.
Martinez also discussed how to report sexual misconduct to the university, which she wanted students to know that their identity is protected and confidential.
When OCRIE is informed of a report of sexual misconduct they will contact the student and give them resources such as the counseling center, off-campus resources and other options, such as reporting to campus police.
"Just know that there are options available," Martinez said. "It is not a one size fits all solution if someone is impacted by sexual misconduct. There are tons of options and possibilities that we can tailor to those to the individual and what will be best for them."
For more information, students can visit OCRIE in the Bovee University Center Room 306 or call the office at (989) 774-3253.