Domestic violence affects thousands throughout the state of Ohio each year. October was Domestic Violence Awareness month, which inspired Keith Brown, Lorain County Community College’s director of Human Resources and Campus Security, and one of LCCC’s Title IX coordinators, to take action.
In order to bring attention to the resources offered on campus, Brown complied policies and procedures that set the framework for how the college will respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of gender-based violence. Students can also find information on how to report a sexual assault as well.
According to Brown, this is the first document of its kind at LCCC, and was created to alert the campus community of myriad of services available to them.
“Many students don’t know about the resources offered on campus,” Brown said. “We want students to know they can reach out to us for help.”
If a student, faculty, or staff member reports a situation of domestic violence, either on campus or off campus, there are certain protective measures that are available to the campus community.
If the domestic violence case occurs off campus, security can provide escorts to and from classes and vehicles, and class schedule adjustments if deemed necessary.Certain parking acclimations may be utilized so security can monitor the vehicle. Reporters of such violence can also provide identification information such as photos or vehicle information so security can monitor the perpetrator. Student staff members can also arrange work accommodations as well.
If such cases arise on campus, security can issue what is called a Campus Noncontact Order. Essentially this prohibits contact between the accuser and the perpetrator. LCCC also offers crisis counseling, which is confidential, for any survivors who need a safe place to talk.
LCCC’s policies also define a variety of terms related to domestic and sexual violence. Sexual harassment is defined as “unwanted sexual attention such as staring, leering, ogling, sexual teasing, jokes, inappropriate text messages…or suggestions that sex can be exchanged for grades or a promotion,” per the document.
“We want students to know they can reach out to us for help.”
In the event of a sexual assault on campus, Brown said that local law enforcement, usually the Elyria Police Department, would be notified and will conduct a formal investigation. Brown said his office would obtain statements from both involved parties. Any reports would be investigated by the campus security office, the Code of Conduct coordinator, or either of the college’s Title IX coordinators, which includes Brown and Mona Atley.
For any Code of Conduct infringements, both the accuser and accused will be notified of any disciplinary hearings and have the opportunity to have selected parties present at that time if the claims pertain to sexual misconduct, including an advisor of their choosing. If the hearing finds any conduct codes have been violated, the individual is subject to “disciplinary sanctions up to and including suspensions, probation, dismissal, expulsions, termination, and prosecution,” according to the policies.
Brown said these procedures were written and released after committee approval. This is the first semester such policies have been documented. Brown did say he would like to update the document at least once per semester or as new procedures are adopted. “This won’t be a static document,” Brown said.
Since 2013, there has only been one reported instance of forcible sexual contact on the LCCC campus. According to the Ohio Attorney General’s website, there were 681 reported domestic violence charges filed in Lorain County in 2015 alone, while 765 reported incidents did not include charges being pressed. Across the state of Ohio, the total number of reported domestic violence charges was 38,343 for the same year. An additional 30,863 cases occurred where no charges were pressed.
To report any gender-based violence on campus, contact security at 440-366-4053 or 440-366-4444. Victim are strongly urged to contact Brown at 440-366-7692 or Mona Atley at 440-366-4886. Women’s link, Men’s link, and Counseling services also provide additional resources to survivors of domestic or sexual assault.