Letters to the EditorOpinion

Letter to the Editor

Title IX Resources at UW Tacoma

Submitted by Madie Brown, UW Tacoma Health Promotion Specialist and Campus-Based Confidential Advocate

Dear Editor, 

Sexual violence is a college health concern that impacts not only academic success but student well-being and sense of community belonging on campus. The concerns of students who are survivors of sexual violence are taken seriously by the UW Tacoma. 

Sexual violence includes sexual harassment (unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature), sexual assault (any sexual contact without clear initial and/or ongoing consent), stalking (unwanted, repeated and continuing contact that causes a person to feel uncomfortable, fearful or harassed), and dating violence and relationship violence (coercive and abusive tactics to gain power and control over another person). It can be challenging to know what to do after experiencing sexual violence, no matter how recent or prior the incidence occurred.  

Advocacy is a safe and confidential starting point for any UW Tacoma student affected by sexual violence. Confidential advocacy is free and provided by the UW Tacoma confidential advocate staff person, who provides compassionate and empowering support to help survivors explore their rights and options for next steps, and get them connected to resources. All decisions to pursue next steps, if any, are entirely up to the survivor. Survivors do not need to make a formal complaint to receive support from an advocate, and meeting with an advocate does not automatically lead to any kind of investigation by the university or the police. ?

Should a survivor decide to make a formal complaint to the University, the survivor will work with the Title IX Investigation Office. The Title IX Investigation Office serves all three UW campuses and is responsible for investigating complaints that a University student engaged in conduct that violates any of the sexual misconduct provisions of the Student Conduct Code, including sexual violence. The conduct process is designed to provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation process and to equitably protect the rights of individuals participating in the investigation. The UW Tacoma confidential advocate can be present and supportive during the complaint and investigation process, should the survivor want support. For a detailed explanation of the process of formal complaint and investigations, visit https://www.washington.edu/compliance/tixio/university-policies-and-processes

We all have a part to play in preventing and responding to sexual violence. Students, faculty, and staff can call SafeCampus at 206-685-7233 for free consultation and support during times of safety and well-being concerns, such as sexual and gender-based violence. Caring, trained professionals are available 24 hours/7 days a week to talk callers through options and connect them with resources, such as a confidential advocate, if callers want them. Callers can even reach out on behalf of another person. All calls are private, and callers can call anonymously and share as much or as little information as they want.

Consent plays a foundational role in preventing sexual violence. Consent is an active process of willingly choosing to participate in sex and physically intimate activities of any kind. When consent is not communicated and obtained from all parties, it could lead to sexual violence. Learn more about the ABCs of and how to communicate consent at www.tacoma.uw.edu/consent

There are resources and systems in place for UW Tacoma students who are impacted by sexual violence. Survivors can reach the UW Tacoma confidential advocate at 253-692-4750 and uwtsva@uw.edu. Learn more about what to expect when meeting with an advocate at tacoma.uw.edu/confidential-advocate. Consider sharing this information with your peers and in the classroom, to further efforts to raise awareness of advocacy support on campus. We all have a part to play in protecting the Husky pack.