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The Student News Site of Mt. San Jacinto College

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Title IX

Creating a Consent Based Culture at MSJC

In the year 2021, 11,580 sexual assault offenses were reported on college campuses. Despite this number being over ten thousand, over 90% of sexual violations that happen on college campuses go unreported. These types of aggressions are violating, isolating, nauseating, and horrifically common. Yet they are the least talked about and least reported every year. Two-thirds of all sexual assault occurrences in the United States go unreported. If you have had to overcome these aggressions, just know you’re not alone, and help is available.

At MSJC, the Title IX office is available to all survivors or friends of people who have had to cope with aggressions of sexual assault or sex-based misconduct of any type. Title IX protects students against sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, stalking, and sex-based discrimination. The office is located on the Temecula campus. However, students or victims can report incidents via email, Zoom, phone call, or digitally through their website.

“The Title IX office ensures MSJC is in compliance with federal and state laws regulated to unlawful sexual harassment and discrimination. One of the main duties here at MSJC is to receive and respond to reports of sex or gender-based misconduct, which would be things like sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.” said the Title IX coordinator, Meghan Kauffman, when talking about what the Title IX office is for.

Despite the degree of the incident, all stories are listened to with equal importance, dealt with urgently, and handled as you feel comfortable and fit. How “bad” or “not bad” the incident was doesn’t make the situation any less scary or important. Meghan Kauffman stated, “ It’s the fact that some of these things are just not okay. I think some of us in the world have just grown accustomed to this kind of behavior like unwanted comments, people not asking for consent, and not respecting boundaries. Which is why I’ve been building this movement of a consent based culture at MSJC. If something isn’t okay with you, to speak up and say something.” Your feelings are valid.

Deciding to take further action with the Title IX office after events are reported is entirely up to you without any added pressures of expectation or policy. When discussing Title IX’s purpose, Kauffman stated, “Title IX is a federal civil rights law whose purpose is to ensure equal access to education and prevent any type of discrimination on the basis of sex. The federal government right now includes sex as gender identity and expression as well as sexual orientation.” A few different routes are available to help handle a reported situation: adjustments to current and future courses, campus escort services becoming available, a contract ensuring no communication between the person initiating it and the aggressor, and more. Off-campus accommodations can also be made, like getting professional investigators involved and taking further action with law enforcement.

“I think most people probably know someone that’s been impacted, even if they don’t know that. So really raising awareness about how prevalent different types of sexual violences are as well as what we can do to prevent it is important. Obviously there’s things we can do on the macro level, federal level, state level, at our institutional level to try to make MSJC a safe and welcoming place for everyone. . .’How can we make the spaces were in, work, educational, social, free of sexual violence?’”

Title IX is a tool for reporting incidents. The coordinator will thoroughly explain every action available while supporting every decision made and giving ample time not to pressure any decisions. The measures of dealing with this incident can be made as much or as little as the person overcoming it wants.

If you or anyone you know has suffered from an experience like this, just know you’re not alone. Your feelings are valid. Your experience won’t be judged, and the proper action to make you or someone you know feel safer will be available. On the topic of reporting, Kauffman said, “I’ve gotten reports and emails from students who have said ‘my friend’s going through something, can you tell me what to tell them?’, or ‘My friend’s ex-partner is at MSJC, and they’re bothering my friend. They’re not sure what to do. How do I make a report?’ It just matters documenting what’s occurring, so if there’s a later occurrence or a later time when their friend is ready to talk about it/ get resources we have it available.”

April is nationally known as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. All through the month of April, Title IX will be hosting events on the San Jacinto campus, Temecula campus, and Menifee campus, as well as online. These events will inform others and provide the proper tools to handle situations like if a friend is going through something like this, what to look for, and if needed, how to step in. When talking about the events Title IX is putting on during April, Kauffman said, “April is a packed month but super exciting because the Title IX office has really grown since the time I’ve been here (since the end of 2021). This schedule of events is really diverse, and continue our partnership with campus and community partners to bring more awareness. I’m hoping this will bring a much-needed attention to this issue that people will have the tools they need to help support survivors but also maybe intervene if someone is experiencing some type of sexual assault or harassment.”

“All throughout the month of April, we’re having the “Clothesline Project” at the San Jacinto campus library. It’s an opportunity for survivors to express their experiences and emotions regarding their experience of sexual violence. They can decorate T-shirts with different images, messages, and drawings. In the library we’ll have information about what the clothesline project is with the little sheets of paper people can design their own T-shirts on if people are interested.”

To attend the myriad of awareness events happening during April, scan the QR code above or visit here to learn more about when and what the events are. 

“The event I’m most excited about is our REACH Advocacy Panel on April 17th in the library at the San Jacinto campus,” the Title IX coordinator said about April’s awareness events, “We are doing this in partnership with REACH, an agency formerly known as CASA. They are in the San Jacinto/ Hemet area, and we have 2 MSJC students who volunteer with REACH and are advocates. We’re going to have 2 of our students, as well as others from the agency which in a panel, and they’ll answer questions about advocacy, particularly related to how we can all be advocates for those in our lives that need support, encouragement, and advisement with sexual violence or the traumatic aftermath of it. It’s just a really great opportunity to learn more. Not only about the important work, but how you might want to get involved as an advocate or as a volunteer in this type of organization.”

Information about the events and the office will also be posted on the MSJC Title IX Instagram page: @msjctitle9.

If any personal experiences of sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, stalking, or sex-based discrimination occur, email the Title IX Coordinator Meaghan Kauffman at [email protected] or call 951-374-0539. Another way to report incidents, if calling or emailing isn’t an option, is to visit here to report an incident on MSJC’s website digitally.

“Anyone who completes the training offered during the month of April will be entered into a raffle for a $50 Amazon gift card. They can do the training online, on their laptop or phone. It’s everything from sexual intimate partner violence, anything related to dating violence, and bystander intervention.” Kauffman wanted to add. 

If you or someone you know may have experienced any sort of sex-based discrimination or sexual misconduct, it’s not your fault. Your feelings are valid, and there is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. You’re not alone; help is available to feel safe and get peace of mind. Taking the first step takes courage, but know that people are there to support you.

Learn more about what the Title IX office can do for you here. It’s not your fault, and support is available.

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About the Contributors
Mia Rotell
Mia Rotell, Writer
Hi! My name is Mia Rotell and I am a writer and editor for The Talon! I'm going on my second year at MSJC and my second semester at The Talon. I'm extremely passionate about writing and storytelling, which makes me put my all into my pieces and always on the lookout for a story to cover. I'm currently a Journalism major and plan on getting my bachelor's degree in Journalism and Media Communications. My ultimate goal is to be an editor at a major publication like TIME Magazine or one that highlights people/ events of different cultures and backgrounds. Outside my articles, I like to read, write, do yoga, paint, travel, and collect old books.
Pia Henson
Pia Henson, Editor in Chief and President
Major:  Geology Hello! My name is Pia Henson, this is my fourth semester with The Talon and my second year at MSJC as a Geology major. I’m most passionate about art, music, and environmental conservation. Outside of school, I enjoy hiking, painting, reading a good book, collecting rocks, and my job as a princess performer! Follow my princess adventures: https://www.instagram.com/charming_princess_pia/“May love, not fear, be the engine of change” -Dan Brown, Origin
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