November 26, 2011

Northland College Takes Penn State Scandal To Heart

11-26-2011 Wisconsin:

Colleges and universities nationwide are under scrutiny about how they address sexual assault reports.

Educators at Northland College are taking a second look at their reporting policy in light of the sex abuse scandal at Penn State.

Northland College, like Penn State, has policies in place to address reports of sexual assault or misconduct, according to Paul Skoraczewski. Skoraczewski is the Human Resources Director at Northland College. The difference, he says, is the failure of Penn State administrators to follow through on them.

“It really comes back to all of us acting in concert to do the right thing every time. While our hearts go out to the victims at Penn State, our minds are focused on preventing these things from happening at Northland,” Skoraczewski says.

Northland College President Mike Miller says the Penn State cover-up has prompted Northland to take a second look at its reporting policy. Northland College operates under the federal law Title 9. The law prohibits gender discrimination and also covers reports of sexual assault in higher education.

“We’ve spent some time here again making sure that everything is thorough. Title 9. There are constant changes in that so we have been doing some workshops and solidifying our processes. The onus is on the individual to follow through,” Miller says.

Michele Meyer is the Dean of Student Life at Northland. Meyer says faculty and staff at Northland under went training in July on how to report any incidents of abuse. She adds all have a responsibility to report cases of sexual assault.

“As you see something, as you experience something as you hear something that you know, who you should bring it to and that you bring it to them. Follow up and ask for action. We all have a responsibility as a community to try to be healthy and to bring theses issues forward and deal with them,” Meyer says.

Northland College has had zero reported instances of sex offenses in the last three years, according to annual reports in compliance with the federal Clery Act.

The Clery Act requires educational institutions that use federal student aid to report crime on and around their campuses. It was named after Jeanne Clery, a Lehigh University freshman who was raped and murdered in her dorm room in 1986.

After her murder, it was disclosed that there had been 38 violent crimes on that campus in the previous three years. ..Source.. This article was completed by Amber Mullen, a news intern at Northland College radio station WRNC.

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