By Zeke Willcox

A change is coming to Hutchinson Community College regarding its prevention and response to sexual assault.

Students and faculty will be introduced to the new Title IX policies, which includes training about prevention of sexual assaults.

Recently, 11 staff members attended a two-day conference in Atlanta, about prevention of sexual assaults.

The new policies are strict. An incident, such as an unwarranted sexual slur, could result in serious consequences.

Recent incidents of sexual abuse on college campuses have caused colleges all over the United States to tighten their respective Title IX Policies.

Title IX, an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is a federal law that deals with equal treatment for individuals.

Steve Dunmire, lead security officer for HCC, encourages students to intervene in order to stop an incident of sexual abuse or violence.

For example, an unconscious, drunk (or drugged) female being carried into a dorm by some rowdy men is not a good sign on any campus, he said.

“If a student does not want to be physically or verbally involved with a perpetrator, they should make a (phone) call.”

Dunmire suggested that students call local police, a resident advisor, campus security or a coaching staff member for help.

To avoid potentially dangerous situations involving sexual abuse or assault, Dunmire suggests that students travel in groups or with a friend as they walk on any college campus.

“Watch out for your friend,” Dunmire said, “Follow your instincts. If you have an uneasy feeling, address it.”

Dana Hinshaw, director of residence life, believes that students need to be more proactive.

“It is important to take bystander responsibility,” Hinshaw said, “If someone is in danger, we should take the responsibility to say or do something.”

For Campus Security call 620-665-3590, on weekdays, during office hours.

For emergencies and after hour calls, dial 620-665-3379.

When in doubt, just dial 911 and seek help, Dunmire said.

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